The South Australian government has announced will expand its ‘Switch for Solar’ program, opening up another 5,000 spots for residents on either an eligible Centrelink payment, who meet low income provisions, or hold an eligible concession card.
Program participants will be able to install a 4.4 kW solar system at no upfront cost in return for their annual Energy and Cost of Living concession payments over the course of a decade.
The program was initially piloted in May 2021, opening to 1,000 eligible residents. The state government described this initial pilot phase as “highly successful”, saying the program now has “proven results”.
“Electricity bills of households already in the program have fallen by well over $1000 a year resulting in a net benefit of up to an average of $538 for these low-income households,” Deputy Premier Dan van Holst Pellekaan said.
Concession holders in the state receive up to $215.10 per year from the Cost of Living Concession and up to $231.41 per year towards their energy bill, totalling up to $446.51. Swapping this payment for a decade would mean the government recovers a total of $4,460 for the solar system.
Data from the pilot trial found concession households who “switch” their total concession payment for the solar system receive an average of $538 in savings over and above their existing $446.51 saving from their concessions. This is higher than the initial estimate of $57 to $525 when the scheme was launched, the government said.
“Around 28% of households so far have opted to co-contribute to get an ever bigger solar system and even bigger bill savings,” Pellekaan added.
“This innovative more than doubles the bill savings we deliver to concession households, through solar instead of cash payments, with strong safeguards for participants.”
South Australian concession holders will now be invited to register their interest in the program with the 5,000 systems to be rolled out from August 2022.
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