AGL has joined forces with the NSW government on a $1 million program to install solar on community housing in Sydney – an effort that is expected to cut the energy costs for tenants by more than $400 a year.
The program, which was flagged by AGL last month, will kick off in December with a pilot involving around 250 households – all of them AGL customers – in which solar panels, a digital meter and a Solar Command energy monitoring system wil be installed at no cost.
The tenants will also have a free home energy visit by Kildonan UnitingCare to connect them with other social support services, and provide information on how to maximise the benefits of their new solar package.
AGL and the NSW government will each invest $500,000 in the pilot program, which is expected to collectively reduce energy costs by about $105,000 every year – an annual average saving of $420 per household.
AGL’s $500,000 contribution to the pilot, under the NSW Government’s Home Energy Action Clean Energy program, is part of its $6.5 million Affordability Initiative which was launched in 2014.
AGL chief Andy Vesey said the utility was committed to playing a leading role in developing a pathway to a modern, decarbonised electricity sector, and reiterated his view that it was critical that the inevitable “energy transition” did not leave lower income households stranded.
“The energy sector is evolving rapidly but that evolution, innovation and environmental benefit cannot continue to be delivered at the current pace if we end up leaving people behind,” Vesey said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We need to be innovating for an inclusive energy future that serves the needs of every member of the community.
“Working with our partners in the community sector, we know that customers participating on our hardship program not only have some of the highest levels of household consumption, they also have the least ability to pay,” he said.
“Collective solutions like these across the government, industry and community sector is an example of what’s needed – to help bridge the gap and to better address the underlying factors contributing to energy hardship.”