Low income households offered free solar in exchange for cost of living payments

South Australia has unveiled plans to boost its world-leading rooftop solar uptake further again, with a new pilot program offering the state’s low income households a free solar system in exchange for their concession payments.

The $4.35 million Switch to Solar program, announced by the Marshall Liberal government on the weekend, will offer 1000 free and fully installed solar systems to eligible households in lieu of annual Energy and Cost of Living concession payments over a period of 10 years.

According to the statement, this would mean swapping payments of up to $446.51 a year from the Cost of Living Concession and energy bill payments, for energy bill savings estimated at up to $890 a year.

“Customers could be more than $400 better off under this program annually – and this is after they forgo their concessions,” said South Australia’s minister for human services, Michelle Lensink, in a join statement with energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“There is no doubt this is huge bill relief for the households that take part in this program.”

Van Holst Pellekaan added that the program was about extending the benefits of rooftop solar to more households, and in particular those which could least afford high energy bills.

“This program will allow us to deliver even larger bill savings for even more households,” the energy minister said.

The Switch to Solar pilot will be rolled out in a selection of suburbs and regions, which the government’s energy department says it chose based on where the network could best accommodate more distributed solar. They are:

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.

Eligible households will need to own their own home and not have an existing solar system. Meanwhile, a competitive tender process is being conducted via the SA Tenders and Contracts website for solar providers to deliver the program.

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