Free solar for eligible NSW pensioners

Three thousand low-income electricity users in NSW are set to benefit from a State Government trial offering free rooftop solar systems worth $4,000.

How it works

The $15 million initiative will see 3,000 eligible homes in five centres supplied with free three kilowatt solar systems in their homes.

Those centres are Central Coast, North Coast, South Coast, Sydney-South and the Illawarra-Shoalhaven.

Eligible applicants must meet the criteria, which includes:

  • owning their home in a selected region
  • not already having a solar PV system
  • not living in a retirement village or strata building
  • having a valid Pensioner Concession Card or a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card
  • opting out of the Low Income Household Rebate for 10 years.

With the Low Income Household Rebate currently at $285 per year, the foregone rebate would be $2,850 over 10 years.

The pros and cons

Participants will have to weigh up the costs and benefits of doing so. Given the free solar system is worth $4,000 and having solar will give potential savings on quarterly energy bills, this may be a worthwhile way to get into solar for those who are eligible.

Some renewable energy advocates have criticised the trial as being too restrictive and excluding other low-income households.

It will be interesting to see how successful the trial is in encouraging solar uptake in NSW.

Learn more about the trial.

Meanwhile, the City of Sydney has unveiled a $60 million renewables deal that will see the city meet all of its electricity needs via wind and solar from July 2020.

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