COVID-19 Stimulus Summit: Rooftop Solar for Social Housing

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As Australia works through the unprecedented health and economic crises due to the COVID-19 pandemic the public dialogue has progressed to how to assist with the economic recovery.

There has been a lot of discussion as to the framings of such a recovery. These include that it must draw on the Aussie concept of the ‘fair go’ and help address some of the persistent inequalities that predate the crises.

One of the widening inequalities in the Australian community is access to distributed energy.

While residential rooftop solar has been a massive success story in Australia, some groups in the community have been left out. Renters, apartments residents and social housing tenants have missed out.

This is particularly unfortunate considering it is these groups that have been most likely to endure energy poverty, i.e. a lack of access to modern energy services.

In Australia one of the major drivers of energy poverty is the extremely high cost of electricity and gas, such that families have to make despairing decisions over whether to buy food, pay the rent, or pay the power bill.

Rooftop solar is one way of addressing energy poverty: it can provide free electricity from the sun, reduce bills further through Feed-in Tariffs, and give families confidence to switch on the air conditioner on sweltering hot days when previously they would have declined to do so for fear of the impact on their electricity bill.

It is for these reasons that Allume Energy has been advocating for rooftop solar for social housing to be included as a priority for government funding as part of the economic recovery to COVID-19.

The benefits of a government-funded rollout of rooftop solar for social housing included:

  • The creation of over 5,000 electrical trades jobs in solar installation teams.
  • ‘Means tested’ targeting of the benefits through reduced electricity bills for social housing residents.
  • A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of over 2 million tonnes of CO2.

 

Economic and environmental benefits of a stimulus initiative on rooftop solar for social housing

 

Allume Energy’s COO, Alex Marks, made a presentation on the topic to the Smart Energy Council’s Stimulus Summit on Wednesday 6 May. To learn more about the proposal, watch the video from the summit here. Read Reneweconomy’s coverage of the summit here.

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