Western Sydney Locals Beat the Heat with Solar
Cost-cutting rooftop solar helps households beat the summer heat with affordable electricity, but more needs to be done to help low-income households access the clean technology says community group Solar Citizens.
“In the scorching heat, having access to rooftop solar can be the difference between some households being able to afford to run their air conditioning while others are forced to go without,” says Maria Cirillo, Solar Citizens’ Acting National Director.
Peter and Karen Murphy are Blaxland East locals and they say that their solar makes a big difference when it comes to keeping cool.
“With solar power we're almost covering our entire bill. The last one was $14,” Peter Murphy said.
“We've had ducted air conditioning in our house since 1995 and when we got solar panels we really noticed the difference in our power bills.”
“We know a few people that want solar but the initial outlay is difficult when you've got a mortgage and kids, some people are on a tight financial budget,” Karen Murphy said.
“It's just not accessible for so many people.”
But it doesn’t have to be that way according to Ms Cirillo.
“Solar could and should be accessible to everyone, whoever they are, wherever they live, any barriers, including cost barriers, can be removed with sensible government initiatives”.
While there are barriers for low-income households, renters and apartment dwellers to adopt solar, incentives like the ACT Government’s Solar for Low Income Households program and battery rebate scheme will help more people access the cost-cutting benefits of rooftop solar.
Other approaches include legislating that solar owners receive a fair price for the clean power they feed into the grid, so that the households that invest in rooftop solar are able to recoup the initial outlay they made when purchasing the panels.
“And it's not just the individual household who benefits by going solar, the Solar Savings report commissioned by Solar Citizens showed that in just one year solar helped all NSW energy consumers by reducing the wholesale cost of electricity by $2.2-3.3 billion,” says Maria Cirillo.
“Without all those solar owners pumping out their rooftop power, the wholesale price of electricity would have been 33-50% higher.”
“Government policies that help more households go solar bring power prices down for everyone.”