22nd May 2022
Lower income households in the ACT can apply for a discount of up to $2,500 on the cost of installing rooftop solar, starting this week, as part of the territory government’s newly launched $50 million Home Energy Support Program.
ACT energy minister Shane Rattenbury said on Thursday that the first, $3.1 million stage of the four-year scheme would provide rebates of up to $2,500 to eligible lower income home owners to install rooftop solar.
By mid-2022, the program will be expanded to include an additional rebate of up to $2,500 for other energy efficient products, including heating and cooling systems, insulation, and hot water heat pumps.
“The program offers financial support to those in our community who need it most, including Pensioner Concession Card or Department of Veteran Affairs Gold Card holders,” Rattenbury said.
“In addition to the solar rebate in the first stage of this program, participants also have the option to apply for a no interest loan as part of the Sustainable Household Scheme if they need further support to cover the upfront costs of installation.”
While record high petrol prices dominate cost of living debates at the moment, electricity prices in the ACT have been the subject of political friction, as the capital territory delivers on ambitious renewable energy targets and shoots for net zero emissions by 2045.
Federal Liberal Senator for Canberra, Zed Seselja, last week accused the ACT Barr government of driving up power prices, in response to an announcement from federal Labor that it would install community batteries in various Canberra suburbs if it won this year’s election.
In turn, ACT chief minister this week slammed the Morrison government’s federal budget as “the latest in a long line of missed opportunities” on action to support the shift to renewables and net-zero emissions.
“The heavy lifting on supporting the nation in the transition to a lower emissions future will continue to fall to state and territory governments of all political persuasions,” Barr said.
In the solar rebate announcement on Thursday, Rattenbury said his government’s ambitious renewable energy and climate policies were designed to ensure a “just transition.”
“We want to ensure all households share the benefits of the shift to lower emissions homes,” the minister said.
“Lower-income households tend to spend a higher proportion of their income on energy and feel the impacts of energy price increases rises the most, but these households often cannot afford to purchase energy efficient measures that will help them lower their costs.”
Rattenbury said the Home Energy Support Program would build on the success of the previous Solar for Low Income program, which was extended to more that 670 households, saving each of them an average of more than $1,000 on their annual energy bills.
“Later this year, we will also begin implementing minimum rental efficiency standards, which will assist renters in Canberra with their comfort and costs,” he said.