Canberra and NSW invest in solar efficient housing


The New South Wales and federal governments have announced two programmes to fund energy-saving upgrades to social housing and to open up access to solar power for strata apartment dwellers.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Premier Chris Minns released a $206 million funding package which could benefit 30,000 households across the state – programmes have previously been announced in Victoria and the ACT.

The governments have promised $87.5 million each over four years for energy-saving upgrades to more than 24,000 properties such as heat-pump hot water systems, ceiling fans, reverse-cycle air conditioners, solar systems, insulation and draught proofing.

The federal government has committed a further $30 million to help low-income households and people living in apartments fund rooftop solar installations, or access a power from a common ‘solar garden’ community energy plot.

An estimated 10,000 households will be able to access the ‘solar banks’ program, which the government estimates could shave up to $600 a year off power bills.

On ABC Radio this morning Climate change and energy minister Chris Bowen said the programmes were aimed at people who have up until now missed out on the renewable energy revolution, including social housing and public housing dwellers, apartment dwellers more broadly, and low-income people.

Bowen said: “But it’s a multi-pronged policy we’re announcing today in partnership with the New South Wales Government.

“Social housing and public housing is a big chunk of it. Obviously, that is very old stock generally across the country…so a lot of it is energy inefficient and doesn’t have a lot of renewable energy.”

Bowen said around 7,000 apartment buildings in NSW could benefit from the scheme.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of strata dwellers who really want to do this that have found it very difficult, and it is a bit of a policy conundrum as to how you fix this because you’ve got a very complicated sort of interaction of strata rules, landlords, tenants, et cetera.

“So, in this case we are giving sort of options, we will either help co-fund 50 per cent of the solar for apartments and stratas, and again, this is the New South Wales element of the policy.”

Other apartments will be offered have access to power from community Solar Gardens.

Picture: Chris Bowen

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