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Greens to install solar panels for public and community housing

Media Release
Larissa Waters 16 Jun 2016

Australia's whole stock of public and community housing would be retrofitted with solar panels to ease power bills for low income earners and make them more comfortable to live in, under a Greens plan announced today.

The nationwide upgrade of Australia's 421,000 public and community dwellings by 2030 would cost $2000 per house to install a 2Kw solar PV system,  energy efficient appliances, as part of a host of refurbishments to make the homes cheaper to run and more comfortable to live in.

The total cost for the scheme is $240 million over the forward estimates.  The scheme would:

  • Put solar on every roof with 2kW rooftop solar PV systems;

  • Retrofit homes with energy efficient appliances, LED lighting, window glazing, smart meters, water efficient appliances and shower heads, roof and wall insulation, ceiling and ventilation fans, efficient heating and cooling, low cost sensors, and draught proofing;

  • Add secure screen doors and window fittings for cross ventilation

  • Provide energy efficiency assessment, education and advice to tenants on how they can make behavioural changes to help save energy in the home

  • Provide a training, employment and education package for tenants interested in developing skills in clean energy, to employ at least 5000 tenants over the rollout of this package.

The least energy efficient housing would be prioritised first.

Greens Deputy Leader, Senator for QLD Larissa Waters said the Greens' Renewing Public and Community Housing plan will level the playing field for 800,000 people living in public and community housing who don't have the upfront capital to install solar or refurbish their homes for energy efficient.

"We have an unequal system where our lowest earners are paying the highest price for power, in ageing houses that are inefficient to run and are hot in summer and freezing in winter," Senator Waters said.

"Cold, draughty and damp houses in the south, and hot, humid houses in the north exacerbate health problems, with over 2,400 deaths each year in Australia associated with periods of cold weather - higher than the percentage of deaths linked to cold weather in Sweden.

"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."

Greens Senator for SA Robert Simms said installing solar panels on public and community housing would be a welcome boost to the state's economy.

"South Australia is battling a long-term jobs crisis as we move away from the industries of last century into creating jobs of the future in clean, renewable energy," Senator Simms said.

"There are more than 48,000 families living in public and community housing here in SA. This will dramatically improve their quality of life and cost of living.

"This initiative would not only provide South Australians with more jobs in the renewable energy sector, but it would save the average household $780 per year in electricity bills from installing solar alone. When people in our community are risking their health because they can't afford to run a heater in the middle of winter, we know there is a problem."

The Greens plan to refurbish all public and community housing homes in Australia as part of their vision to achieve 90% clean energy and double energy efficiency by 2030.

Repowering Social Housing - FACT BOX

  • 421,300 social housing dwellings in Australia, including 326,600 public housing dwellings, 72,000 community housing rentals, and another 27,500 community indigenous housing dwellings and state owned and managed indigenous housing dwellings.

  • 19% of Australia's homes now have Rooftop solar PV - with over 1.4 million rooftop solar systems installed and about 70% of homes have insulation, but low income households are missing out

  • 39 jobs are directly supported in Australia for every 1 megawatt (MW) of solar installed.

  • The number of jobs in the Australian solar industry has almost halved under the current government, falling by 48%

Find the Greens Renewing Public and Community Housing plan here:

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