NSW councils & businesses come together to offer affordable on-site renewables & solar leases

A group of NSW municipal councils has joined forces to provide residents and small businesses with ready access to cheaper PV systems – including through a solar leasing option.

Eight councils from the southern Sydney region will use their combined weight to try to get the best value offers from solar suppliers on rooftop PV, solar hot water and heat pumps for their 750,000 constituents.

The local government-driven solar scheme was reportedly motivated by a recent study by the Institute for Sustainable Futures that found many Sydney residents who were interested in installing rooftop solar could either not afford the up-front cost, or were confused about how to choose a good supplier.

The ultimate goal of the group – known as the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils – is to have up to 30 per cent of the region’s energy needs generated by renewable sources.

To help get there, SSROC will ask solar suppliers to come up with a variety of good value offers, including the bulk purchase of PV panels, and the relatively new (to Australia) concept of solar leasing.

Collectively, the group – including the councils of Ashfield, Bankstown, Canterbury, Canada Bay, Kogarah, Leichhardt, Marrickville and Rockdale – represent 750,000 Sydneysiders.

The scheme, Our Solar Future (part of the SSROC’s broader Our Energy Future scheme), will be officially launched next year with a community forum where suppliers can pitch their offers.

“Solar leasing is a relatively new option whereby households can purchase the electricity generated from a solar system on their roof rather than having to buy the system,’’ the program manager for SSROC, Helen Sloan, said.

“If they are successful in offering this, it would open up solar to people who previously could not afford the upfront cost, allowing them to save money. It may also prove to be a solution for tenants who want to install solar on their rented property,’’ she said.

Residents and businesses will be able to contact nominated suppliers directly or fill out a quotation request online that will be sent to a supplier.

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson