A South Australia plan to offer the state’s low income households a free solar system in exchange for their concession payments has officially kicked off, a deal that promises to make those households up to $665 better off each year.
The Switch to Solar trial program, first flagged by the Liberal Marshall government in February, will offer one thousand Cost of Living Concession (COLC) holders in selected suburbs the chance to swap their energy concessions for a 4.4kW solar system over a period of 10 years.
According to the figures updated in the Monday announcement, this would mean swapping payments totalling up to $446.51 a year with energy bill savings estimated at up to $665 a year.
Suburbs selected for the pilot were listed as including Hope Valley, Banksia Park, Tea Tree Gully, Vista, Modbury, Modbury Heights, Modbury North, Felixstow, Campbelltown, Newton, Paradise, Athelstone, Dernancourt, Holden Hill, Highbury, Redwood Park and Ridgehaven and Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island in regional SA.
The department of energy said the suburbs and regions chosen for the initial pilot had been selected based on where the network could best accommodate an increase of solar installations.
Local companies Sharpe Energy Hub and Zen Energy were announced as program partners for the pilot and for the installation of the solar systems for the $4.25 million Switch for Solar pilot program.
“From Monday eligible concession holders in the selected suburbs will be contacted directly to hear more about how the program can save them money on their electricity bills and how they can go about signing up,” said South Australia energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan.
“Since we announced the program in February we are now able to deliver larger solar systems meaning concessions holders that join the program are set to save even more on their energy bills,” the minister said.
“We hope to roll out this program and its energy savings to more concession holders in the future.”
The minister said eligible households would also need to own their own home and not have an existing solar system. And while the scheme promises no up front costs, the statement on Monday said a small fee may be payable if a non-standard installation was required.