Helping low-income households access solar in NSW

Origin’s committed to making solar and energy more affordable for all Australians. That’s why we’re working with the NSW Government to give free* solar systems to low-income households in NSW.

Solar can be a big up-front cost, but the long-term savings can help households reduce their electricity bills by up to $600 per year.

Origin is working with the NSW Government as an approved installer under the Solar for Low Income Households trial program. We provide free, fully installed 3-kilowatt (kW) solar systems for low-income households in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven, Sydney South and Central Coast regions. The trial is also available for eligible households in the North Coast and South Coast regions.

The Solar for Low Income Households trial is expected to help participating homeowners save up to $600 on their annual electricity bills and achieve long-term energy savings.

For households on a lower income, cost-of-living pressures can mean that solar is generally unaffordable. The trial aims to improve access to solar for those in the community who will benefit the most from reduced electricity bills.        

Kerina from the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region applied for the trial to save money on her energy bills.

“I wouldn’t be able to afford solar panels by myself outside of the program,” said Kerina, “and for people in my situation who have bought a home but don’t have a big chunk of money to spend on solar, it’s just great.”

Homeowners with a valid Pensioner Concession Card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card, who live in an eligible postcode, and receive the NSW Government’s Low Income Household Rebate are eligible to participate in the trial. However they will need to give up the annual $285 rebate on their electricity bill for 10 years. 

Participating homeowners can also choose to upsize* from the standard 3kW solar system to a larger 6kW system, but need to cover the additional costs. And that’s just what Illawarra-Shoalhaven resident Michael decided to do.

“I always wanted to get solar, but being on the pension means it’s hard to get a decent system installed,” said Michael. “It’s been a great opportunity to get the 3kW system for free, and I paid the extra to get the 6kW system installed – I knew I wanted to upgrade straight away.

I was more interested in going green than energy-cost savings, but saving money is obviously another benefit.”

Are you eligible?

The trial is available to up to 3,000 low-income households in eligible postcodes in selected NSW regions.

Here are the eligibility criteria:

  • Currently receive the Low Income Household Rebate
  • Agree to waive your rebate for ten years (remembering that you could save up to $600 per year on your electricity bills with solar)
  • Hold a valid Pensioner Concession Card or Department of Veteran’s Affairs Gold Card
  • Own your own home
  • Don’t already have a solar system
  • Live in one of these NSW regions:
    • Central Coast
    • North Coast
    • Sydney South
    • Illawarrra–Shoalhaven
    • South Coast

How you can get involved

It’s simple – all you need to do is visit the website, check if you’re eligible, and apply online. You could be one step closer to a free solar system in just a few clicks.

Spread the word!

If this trial sounds like a good fit for someone you know, share this blog article with them.

For further information on the program, including eligibility criteria, visit the Solar for Low Income Household’s website.

*You can choose to upsize your system to a maximum of 6 kilowatts, but you must pay for all costs associated with upsizing. You will also require a smart meter to be installed, find out more about Origin’s smart meter process.

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