Greens proposal would see solar on nation’s public housing stock

A new Greens policy would fund the installation of solar across Australia’s community and public housing stock, giving hundreds of thousands of Australians living in low-income housing access to the benefits of rooftop solar – including $780 a year savings on electricity bills.

The $240 million scheme – 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.

“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,” she said.

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