The more than 800,000 Australians living in low-income housing across Australia would gain access to the benefits of rooftop solar power – including $780 a year savings on electricity bills – under a new Greens policy that would put a 2kW PV system on every available community housing roof.
The $240 million scheme – announced on Thursday as the latest plank of the party’s plan to achieve 90 per cent renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030 – would also retrofit Australia’s 421,000 community and public dwellings with energy efficient appliances, lighting and other fittings, including screen doors and windows for passive cooling by cross-ventilation.
The four-year policy – which would target the least energy efficient housing first – would also provide residents with advice on energy saving measures and provide a training, employment and education package for those interested in developing skills in clean energy, with the aim of employing at least 5000 tenants over the lifetime of the scheme.
The Greens said on Thursday that the nationwide solar and energy efficiency upgrade of Australia’s 421,000 public and community dwellings by 2030 would cost $2000 per house, but would in turn make the homes cheaper to run and more comfortable to live in.
The Greens estimate that a 2kW rooftop solar PV unit alone would save each household around $780 per year on average.
The CEFC has estimated that annual savings of up to $1075 per household can be made from improving insulation in walls and floors, adding double glazing, LED lighting, induction stoves in place of gas, installing secure screen doors to improve ventilation, and in-home energy monitoring.
Greens Deputy Leader and Senator for Queensland, Larissa Waters, said the Greens’ Renewing Public and Community Housing plan would also level the playing field for the 800,000 people living in public and community housing who didn’t have the upfront capital to install solar or make their homes more energy efficient.
“We have an unequal system where our lowest earners are paying the highest price for power, in ageing houses that are inefficient to run and are hot in summer and freezing in winter,” Senator Waters said.
“Under this plan, public and community housing renters such as single parents, seniors and young people could save as much as $1075 per household per year, while reducing their carbon footprint.”
Greens Senator for SA, Robert Simms, said the scheme would also provide a welcome boost to his state’s economy.
“South Australia is battling a long-term jobs crisis as we move away from the industries of last century into creating jobs of the future in clean, renewable energy,” Senator Simms said.
“This initiative would not only provide South Australians with more jobs in the renewable energy sector, but it would save the average household $780 per year in electricity bills from installing solar alone. When people in our community are risking their health because they can’t afford to run a heater in the middle of winter, we know there is a problem.”