The ACT government has officially launched a new energy program that will provide a limited number of rebates of up to $5,000 to small businesses and community organisations to install rooftop solar.
The Actsmart Solar for Business trial, which actually kicked off in February, offers tailored advice and support from to help businesses and NGOs to invest in and install solar systems suited to their needs.
So far, two solar systems have been installed under the scheme – one of which was unveiled on Tuesday by the ACT minister for climate and sustainability, Shane Rattenbury – and a further eight installations are said to be in progress.
Another 50 businesses and community organisations – ranging from small not-for-profit groups through to large corporations – are in discussions with an Actsmart consultant, to determine the right rooftop system for them, and determine whether they are eligible for the rebate.
Rattenbury said the trial was designed to address two key barriers to installing rooftop solar: the upfront financial cost, and limited knowledge about how to go about investing in rooftop solar.
“The business community have been telling us that they are time poor, don’t feel they have the right expertise to invest in solar, and are sometimes hesitant about the pitch from sales people,” the minister said.
“Being able to access independent, plain-speak advice from Government can help overcome these barriers, supporting more Canberra businesses to take up solar options that suit their needs.”
Of the two solar systems installed under the trial so far, Weston Creek Uniting Church has a 12kW system that is expected to save about $2900 a year on electricity bills.
“(The church was) also able to purchase (its) solar system at two-thirds the cost by accessing the rebate under the trial program – for a small organisation, savings like these can make all the difference,” Rattenbury said.
The ACT, which is on track to meet its 100 per cent renewable energy target by next year, has led Australia on government policies to encourage the uptake of renewable energy, including solar and home battery storage.
Just last year, a similar program to the Actmsart Solar trial was launched targeting income households.
“By supporting more Canberrans to make the solar switch, we’re bringing bills down and putting our climate first,” Minister Rattenbury added.
The Capital Territory also has a legislated target to realise zero net emissions by 2045 at the latest.