In June 2016, EAGA and its partners secured a $0.76M State Government Grant through the New Energy Jobs Fund to deliver the Solar Savers project.

Maroondah City Council led the funding application on behalf of twenty councils and four of Victoria’s Greenhouse Alliances. The project seeks to install up to 900 solar PV on low income and vulnerable households across twenty municipalities between October 2016 and June 2019 and will:

  • test a model for scaling-up the use of council rates to provide individual loans to households and recover costs through the rates system
  • catalyse private-sector investment within a community segment traditionally viewed as high risk to investors by establishing and evaluating partnership finance models with the banking sector
  • establish a shared services approach to project implementation to enable access to dedicated capability and thereby reduce resource requirements and risks to councils. This approach is intended to leverage economies of scale in administration, procurement and governance, and (importantly) enable participation by councils not otherwise able to offer this service to their residents

The project has the potential to deliver immediate net savings of around $100 per year on electricity costs for large numbers of low-income households. The ability of solar PV to provide low cost energy throughout the day means these householders can cool their homes during heatwaves without fear of ‘price shock’, further protecting a vulnerable sector. The project also has the potential to materially reduce Victorian Government concession payments, and meet broader social and environmental policy objectives.

Solar Savers was launched in May 2017 and is being progressively rolled out across participating councils through to June 2019.  To find out more or to participate visit please visit the Solar Savers website.

The project methodology has been informed by two detailed business case studies, available here.

The outcomes of Solar Savers include:

  • Delivery of a council rates pilot, in which councils provide individual loans to low income owner households and recover their costs through the rates system
  • Piloting partnership finance models with the banking sector through:
    • a bank loan pilot with Bank Australia, where individual loans are provided directly to households
    • development of tailored debt based finance options for councils to directly fund additional system installations
  • Evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of the pilots and the shared services model to enable the market to grow beyond the project lifetime.

To find out more, please contact Anna Imberger, Program Leader here.