“Australian first” residential solar PPA a big hit with new home buyers

A Western Australian housing development offering drastically reduced daytime power costs through a residential solar PPA has been a resounding success, with 90 per cent of home buyers opting in to the deal.

As we reported here, the innovative scheme was launched just over a year ago in a trial  at Yolk Property Group’s Amble Estate in Girrawheen – a mix of 129 “affordable and highly sustainable” houses, apartments and townhouses.

Designed in conjunction with solar installer and electricity retailer Infinite Energy, the deal offered home buyers who opted in to a “sustainable living package” a rooftop solar system of between around 3.8 – 4.8kW, installed at no upfront cost.

Instead, the household would enter into a 10-year solar PPA direct with Infinite Energy, giving that company ownership and maintenance responsibilities for the solar system for the term of the contract.

In return, the home owner gets access to daytime solar power at a guaranteed discounted rate of net 40 per cent less than the A1 grid tariff offered by WA government-owned retailer, Synergy.

In a statement on Wednesday, Infinite Energy said that 37 of 42 purchasers had chosen to opt in to the PPA, which it described as the first large-scale solar PPA to be rolled out at a residential community in Australia.

This 90 per cent uptake rate is not a great surprise, considering how popular rooftop solar has been with Australian home owners across the board – and considering Infinite Energy’s promise of electricity bill savings of up to $600 a year, with no capital outlay.

Infinite Energy CEO Aidan Jenkins said the pilot program demonstrated how state governments and private organisations could join forces on “outside-the-box solutions” to housing affordability and sustainability.

“The positive response to the solar PPA highlights the receptiveness of Western Australians to trial programs like this that benefit both households and the environment,” Jenkins said.

“The Amble Estate trial has provided valuable insight into Western Australian homeowners’ strong desire for more control over electricity costs.

“We’ve been really pleased with the response to the trial. The success is a clear indication that WA homeowners are looking for innovative, cleaner and more affordable alternatives to traditional grid electricity,” he said.

“Through this solar PPA energy package, this project is leading the way in combining affordable home purchase with improved affordability of living, while also allowing savvy purchasers to reduce their impact on the environment.”

In addition to the solar systems, residents receive a reticulated vegetable garden; water wise front landscaping with edible fruit trees; compost bin and CSIRO water-saving and pressure-increasing showerhead connectors.

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