The ‘Sunshine State’ of Queensland will soon be getting solar energy as well as savings in electricity costs to benefit some of the most vulnerable customers. Trials are already underway to help tenants in public housing and houses owned by the government through solar power from rooftop systems. The focus of the hearings will be Rockhampton, Woodridge, Lockhart River, and Cairns with some 4000 rooftop installations in these 4 locations delivering 6 MW of solar power.
Woodridge Housing Service Centre will manage some 2000 eligible tenants in public housing and will enable them to get cheaper solar energy through an agreement for solar power purchase from small and big companies in the solar market, for example, Euro Solar Global. Mick de Brenni, the Minister for Public Works and Housing, stated that the trial is designed to present a workable model that allows solar energy availability to Queenslanders in rented homes. He added that the current trial is a first step targeting fundamental changes in how renewable energy is delivered across Queensland. He added that Queensland has some half a million rented properties with limited solar uptake as of now. With the state being the largest landlord, the present trials bring an opportunity for the government in Queensland to sort out the issues and develop a viable model that can benefit the private rental segment.
The minister also added that subject to the success of the trial; the government would explore ways to enhance supply power to the rental market by expanding the program. He stated that the government wants that cheaper electricity should be available to every Queenslander and that would also help the state to grow its renewable energy segment.
In Woodridge, Logan City will be the location for the trial where a Health Care card from the Commonwealth will help over 157,000 families in Queensland will receive $330 every year savings from their energy bills. In the Logan area too, normally residents do not have access to the advantage of solar power, and with the current initiative, they will also see some savings in their electricity bills apart from gaining a better understanding of using energy at home. Apart from the power purchase agreement, some 2000 tenants will also benefit from a lease arrangement for solar power for a detached house in Cairns and Rockhampton.
Lockhart River has been designated as the location for the final trial where some 100 households will experience the benefits of solar energy from rooftop systems on government buildings. The indigenous community in remote areas will have access to clean energy in areas that are traditionally diesel powered. The present initiative also includes a battery storage component to help the integration of diesel generators with the solar farm. Use of solar energy will also impact diesel costs, and part of the savings will flow to the tenants in public housing to bring down the cost of living for them. The current trial is initiated under the Palaszczuk Government which has targeted 1 million solar rooftop installations aggregating to 3000 MW solar power generation capacity.