Solar Provides Haven For VIC Community Housing Clients

More than 1,000 properties (and those living in them) have benefited from Victorian state government solar rebates for community housing.

The cost of solar systems these days means you can get a lot of rooftop PV bling for your bucks. But for some households, having panels installed may always be out of reach due to severe financial constraints – and these are among the households that could benefit the most.

Under the Solar for Community Housing Program in Victoria, not-for-profit groups providing social housing to low-income households have been able to get a helping hand through rebates of $1,400 per dwelling to reduce the upfront cost of installation.

24 community housing organisations (CHOs) across the state have accessed the rebates since they were made available. Among them is Haven Home Safe, which was able to install systems on 152 properties across the Loddon Mallee region with the help of $212,800 from Solar Victoria; the body that oversees the rebate program.

“The installation of the panels not only meant we reduced our reliance on non-renewable energy sources but also reduced bill-stress on renters, who have reported saving more than half their electricity costs,” said Haven Home Safe CEO Trudi Ray.

One of the organisation’s clients commented that their electricity bills were approximately $600 per quarter before the installation, and down to approximately $220 since. Haven hasn’t stopped with this rollout – rooftop solar power is now standard for all its new builds.

Ms. Ray also mentioned due to the scale of the project that Haven Home Safe initially undertook, the rebate process was time-consuming. But a new streamlined online application has now replaced the former manual application process.

“Victoria’s community housing sector is hugely innovative and dynamic,” said Solar Victoria CEO Stan Krpan. “We are delighted to launch the new application process which will allow community housing organisations to spend less time applying through an onerous manual application process.”

More information about the initiative can be found here.

Much More Than Just Rebates For CHOs

The community housing initiative is part of Victoria’s Solar Homes program, which provides eligible households – not just those on a low income – a solar panel rebate of up to $1,400 currently. Read also : array. Victorians are particularly lucky as they can double-dip; grabbing this incentive in addition to the national solar subsidy.

Also on offer for households are hot water rebates and interest-free home battery loans1. And in an effort to get more landlords on board with solar power to benefit their tenants, there are rebates available to install panels on rental properties; along with funding for apartment installations too.

Just as a general guide, a good quality 10kW solar system that has been installed in Melbourne with the assistance of state and federal incentives can achieve simple payback in under 8 years; based on just 11% solar energy self-consumption. Boost self-consumption and payback accelerates – for example, at 22% simple payback is just over 6 years.

Since the Solar Homes program kicked off in 2018, the initiative has provided more than 330,000 rebates and loans to households across Victoria.

Footnotes

  1. I checked with Solar Victoria recently, and they said at this point in time the battery loans would continue to be available in the new financial year; remaining at a maximum of $8,800 per loan.

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