New solar rebate program for low income homes welcomed by Canberrans
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New solar rebate program for low income homes welcomed by Canberrans

Canberrans living in low income households have been given a helping hand with their energy costs on Tuesday.

Minister for climate change and sustainability Shane Rattenbury announced a new program to reduce energy bills.

Corrine Phillips is one of the first Canberrans to be part of the program and said it has given her peace of mind.

Corrine Phillips is one of the first Canberrans to be part of the program and said it has given her peace of mind.Credit:karleen minney

"[The] Solar for Low Income Households program will offer greater assistance to households most in need by helping bring down their energy costs – with estimated savings of $300 to $900 a year," Mr Rattenbury said.

"Eligible ACT households will be able to invest in rooftop solar panels to help bring down energy costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

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Minister of climate change and sustainability Shane Rattenbury announced a new solar rebate program to reduce energy bills.

Minister of climate change and sustainability Shane Rattenbury announced a new solar rebate program to reduce energy bills.Credit:karleen minney

He said over the next three years, participants will be offered a rebate of up to 60 per cent on costs for the supply and installation of a rooftop solar photovoltaic system.

"The subsidy will also cover upgrades for a switchboard and smart meter if required," he said.

"Participants will have access to an interest free loan to pay back the remaining installation costs over a three year period."

Corrine Phillips, who has a degenerative disease, is one of the first Canberrans to be part of the program and said it has given her peace of mind.

"Eventually I'm going to need wheelchair and other electric things to support me," Ms Phillips said.

"We read in the press how electricity prices are going to keep rising and that frightens me.

"This (program) does give me peace of mind because it future proofs me for those electricity price rises."

All solar panels in the program are Clean Energy Council certified and have a 25 year performance warranty.

The solar rebates have been welcomed by the ACT Energy Consumers Policy Consortium.

Director of Care Financial Counselling Carmel Franklin said low income households needed support to adapt to more extreme weather events and to reduce their energy costs.

"Without this assistance we see growing hardship associated with bill shock and poor health caused by inadequate temperature control in cold winters and hot summers."

The program is available to home owner occupiers who have an Australian Government pensioner concession card.

A cost benefit analysis will be undertaken for each household participating based on electricity consumption and household composition.

Han Nguyen reports on property for The Canberra Times. She joined the Times in 2017 after working as a breaking news reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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