The Queensland government has launched a rooftop solar trial targeting the state’s most vulnerable electricity customers – as well its half a million rental households – as part of its plan to deliver up to 6MW of new solar PV on up to 4000 rooftops across the state.
Queensland energy minister Mark Bailey said the aim of the scheme was to investigate innovative ways to enable public housing tenants in detached government-owned houses to access the benefits of rooftop solar power.
The three-pronged trial will be conducted in three separate locations in the state, including the regional Cairns and Rockhampton housing service areas; a remote community at the Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council; and the Woodbridge Housing Service Centre area in the metro-area Logan City.
Bailey said on Monday that in the Cairns program, eligible public housing tenants would be able to enter into a solar lease arrangement which allowed them to receive cheaper power from solar.
“Under this arrangement, a portion of the electricity savings from solar will be used to pay for the cost of the solar system over time.
In Lockhart River, meanwhile, rooftop solar and battery storage would be installed on government-owned buildings in an effort to provide cheaper power to up to 100 local households and help wean the community off diesel power.
“The solar farm will provide a clean energy alternative for the diesel-powered remote indigenous community and will include some battery energy storage to help integrate the solar farm with the local diesel generators.”
In the final location, Solar Power Purchase Agreements will be trialled for up to 2000 tenants in Logan City – in an effort to design a workable model that could allow solar power to be offered to Queenslanders renting in the private market.
“This is the first step toward fundamental change in the way we deliver renewable energy across Queensland,” the state’s minister for housing, Mick de Brenni, said.
“Half a million properties in Queensland are rentals which has limited residential solar uptake up until now.
“As the state’s largest landlord, this trial presents an opportunity for the Queensland government to work through issues and develop a workable model for the private rental sector.
“If this trial is successful, we will look at ways to expand the program and help open the floodgates to solar across the rental market. We want every Queenslander to enjoy cheaper electricity while helping to grow the state’s renewable energy sector.
De Brenni said representatives from the Department of Housing and Public Works will contact public housing tenants who are eligible to participate in the trial.”