Do you have aÂ Pensioner Concession Card?
Do you own a home in the ACT?
Does the roof of that home lack solar panels?
If you can answer yes to these questions then you can receive up to $2,500 off the cost of a solar system.Â The ACT Government will pay for half up to that maximum as part of their Solar For Low Income Households Program â€” provided they decide your home is suitable.
This subsidy is available now and thereâ€™s no set date to end the program.Â As Labor remains in power after winning last weekâ€™s ACT election, I expect it will be available for a considerable time.
While it will depend on the exact circumstances, our Solar & Battery Calculator says conventional solar in Canberra can pay for itself inside 4 years.Â As this program can potentially cut that time in half, it makes rooftop solar power an insanely good investment.Â With a large enough system and perhaps a little effort put into shifting electricity use to the daytime, many pensioners would end up with electricity bills that either average zero dollars a year or provide an overall credit. Â
It doesnâ€™t matter what kind of pensioner you are, as long as you hold an Australian Government Pensioner Concession Card and own a home without solar panels you can apply.Â Hereâ€™s information on who can get the card.Â Â
While the program is open to all with the concession card, Aged Pensioners have the highest home ownership.Â
The internet page for the Solar For Low Income Households Program says there are other eligibility requirements households will be assessed on.Â While there may be more, the three they mention are:
My guess is they donâ€™t want the subsidy going towards systems that will have below-average production as theyâ€™ll get less bang for their subsidy buck.Â This means roofs that are difficult to install on may be rejected.
While I think itâ€™s unlikely, they may also take grid management issues into account and favour solar systems that face west to help meet summer air conditioner demand and/or face east to help power heating on cold winter mornings.Â Peak demand occurs during summer heatwaves, but the ACTâ€™s cold winters make it the season the greatest amount of energy is consumed.Â
If you use a wood heater to stay warm in winter thereâ€™s another ACT program that will pay you to replace it.
Applying for the solar subsidy is pretty straight forward:
If you donâ€™t like the quote you are given or you simply change your mind, you donâ€™t have to accept it.Â Youâ€™re free to say no and it wonâ€™t cost you anything.Â
I will warn you the people at Access Canberra can only give very general information about the scheme, so donâ€™t bother trying to pump them for information.Â Trust me, I know it wonâ€™t work.
If you apply youâ€™ll only be put in touch with one solar installer and offered one quote.Â This may make you concerned theyâ€™ll take advantage of their privileged position to bump up the price so you wonâ€™t get the full benefit of the subsidy.Â But the only sensible way I can see for this scheme to work is if the ACT government contracted with some reputable solar installers to provide quality systems at reasonable prices, so price gouging shouldnâ€™t occur if the government in the ACT is at all competent.Â
But if you are concerned you can get a second quote or you could just ask me in the comments if I think youâ€™ve been offered a reasonable deal.Â
I didnâ€™t want to just rehash whatâ€™s on the Solar for Low Income Households Program page, so I decided to call up Canberra and ask someone in the know the following questions:
Unfortunately, this didnâ€™t work out well for me and I suffered the following three failures:
On Friday I decided to bang my head against that wall one more time and called them yet again:
Time Call Made:Â 10:28 am
Length of Time on Hold:Â 22 minutes
Result:Â Given another number to call.Â Also told I could send an email.Â
As Iâ€™d received no luck calling so far, I decided to give the new phone number a miss, but I did send an email.Â If they get around to responding Iâ€™ll update this article.Â