NSW Low-income Household Solar Scheme

NSW Low-income Households Will Soon Have The Opportunity To Participate In A Program That Will Set Them Up To Be $300 Better Off Each Year.

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The NSW Government has announced a new solar scheme that will allow for those currently signed up to the Low-income Household Rebate, to forgo their rebate and in turn receive a 2.5 kW solar PV system.

Being able to generate its own energy by the sun gives a solar home the average savings of $600 on electricity bills per year. In comparison to the current Low-income Household Rebate which provides low-income households with a lump sum payment of $313.50. The difference meaning low-income homes have the potential to be $300 better off each year.

The new scheme will be completely voluntary to Low-income households and will be available to up to 3,400 households with the Government putting $15 million towards the scheme.

“The bill savings from the rooftop solar trial are expected to be close to double the value of existing rebate savings with an average bill reduction of $600 per household per year, this means that households who choose to participate in the program could be around $300 better off each year.” Acting Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment, Liz Develin said.

Who’s Eligible

The trial of the voluntary scheme will be rolled out in five selected State regions: Sydney – South, Central Coast, North Coast, Illawarra – Shoalhaven and South Coast. Those participating must be classified as a Low-income household.

Currently, to be classified as a Low-income Household you must be;

  • An NSW resident
  • An on-supplied customer of an energy retailer

And hold one of the following;

  • Pensioner Concession Card issued by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) or the Department of Human Services (DHS)
  • Health Care Card issued by the DHS, or
  • DVA Gold Card marked with either ‘War Widow’ or ‘War Widower Pension’, or ‘Totally and Permanently Incapacitated’ (TPI) or ‘Disability Pension’ (EDA).

Additional eligibility requirements may need to be met to be able to participate in the new scheme, however, the criteria is yet to be released.

NSW Falling Behind In The Renewable Energy Race In Australia

The scheme hopes to better New South Wales’ uptake on renewable energy after recent reports by The Climate Council provided statistics on the renewable energy state leaders and lagers in Australia, which saw New South Wales falling behind along with Northern Territory and Western Australia.

 “Solar power is working to even out demand peaks and reduce electricity prices. Households and businesses should be rewarded for this service, not penalised for the benefit of big coal” said NSW Greens MP Tamara Smith

When Is The Scheme Rolling Out?

Dates on the scheme are yet to be released along with details on who will be eligible to install or provide the solar pv systems. However, those interested in hearing more about the scheme and wanting to apply have been encouraged by the NSW Government to email their interest to: solarforlowincome.program@planning.nsw.gov.au

In the meantime, if you’d like to work out how much solar can save you on electricity bills, check out our solar calculator and see how much you can save!

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.