Canberra’s low-income households benefit from the new solar rebate scheme.
The ACT government has recently launched a new initiative, the Home Energy Support Program, in a bid to help low-income households and those in public and social housing save on their energy bills.
Under the Territory government’s program, those eligible will receive rebates of up to $2500 for installing rooftop solar panels. Including an initial investment of $3.1 million to run stage one, the ACT Government has committed a total of $50 million over four years.
By mid-2022, the program will expand to include an additional rebate of up to $2500 for other energy-efficient products, including heating and cooling systems, insulation and hot water heat pumps.
This HESP comes on top of the territory government’s $150 million Sustainable Household Scheme, which was introduced in 2020 and offers Canberrans interest-free loans for roof-top solar panels, household battery storage and hot water heat pumps in a bid to make them more sustainable. The loans of between $2000 and $15,000 are to be repaid over 10 years.
Pensioners and Department of Veteran Affairs Gold Card holders are among those eligible for the scheme launched on Thursday, with energy prices forecast to increase over coming months. Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury said the program is intended to provide real and ongoing cost of living support to Canberrans who need it most.
ACTCOSS chief executive Dr Emma Campbell and Shane Rattenbury. Picture: Elesa Kurtz from the Canberra Times
“Lower-income households tend to spend a higher proportion of their income on energy and feel the impacts of energy price rises the most, but these households often cannot afford to purchase energy-efficient measures that will help them lower their costs,” Mr Rattenbury said.
Mr Rattenbury said he believed the combination of the two schemes (HEPS and SHS) would help make solar more accessible to Australians.
Previously, an “over-subscribed” Solar for Low-Income scheme helped more than 670 households save more than $1000 on their energy bills per year.
It’s hoped the new scheme will be able to deliver similar ongoing savings to people who sign up. “This is year after year of savings, not a one-off payment,” Mr Rattenbury said.
Mr Rattenbury said, unlike the federal government’s $250 cost-of-living-payment announced on Tuesday, the program was not a one-off cash boost.
“Households can save $1000 a year on their energy bills,” he said.
“This is year after year of savings on energy bills that can make a real difference for those who struggle most.”
Canberrans who believe they may be eligible are asked to undertake an awareness and information training session before making a call to an accredited provider.
Mr Rattenbury said it’s expected there will be a “modest rise” in ACT electricity bills this year before prices fall next year but the introduction of renewables to the system would drive prices down over time.
More than 2500 homes in the ACT have had systems installed since the zero-interest loan program was launched mid last year.
This initiative of having a solar rebate scheme will surely benefit the Canberrans community.