Nearly 300 low-income pensioners will have their energy bills slashed by solar power in a pilot program funded by Victoria’s Darebin City Council, carried out in partnership with solar provider Energy Matters and community energy service Positive Charge.
Installations under the new Solar $aver program are expected to save individual households more than $400 per annum.
The pilot program focuses on financially struggling senior home-owners and offers the opportunity to install solar power at no up-front cost, with repayments to occur via council rates in the next 10 years.
Darebin City Council is funding the program with $900,000 allocated from its 2013/2014 budget.
“We were determined to find a way to make solar power available to even the lowest income earners in our ongoing efforts to make the homes of Darebin residents safer and less costly,” Darebin Mayor Steven Tsitas said.
Energy Matters chief executive officer Jeremy Rich said the demand for the program has been higher than expected.
“In just nine weeks we’ve reached installation capacity and there’s a waiting list for future installations,” he said.
“The initial success of this pilot program with the Darebin City Council opens up a national discussion with councils throughout Australia. Our goal is to work with other councils around the country to implement this initiative and support low-income pensioner home-owners with the introduction of solar power.”
The solar power systems installed by Energy Matters are accompanied by a 10-year warranty on panels, inverters and installation.