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WA Greens propose solar PV on all public housing

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The WA Greens have unveiled a $68 million plan to install solar PV panels on all public housing homes, in what could be an interesting test of the ability of solar to gain traction as an election issue.

The plan announced by Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren would involve installing a 1.5kW solar PV system on the roof of public housing homes and apartments, and on another 8,000 community housing units.

It is estimated to cost around $68 million, but the Greens say it could reduce the cost of electricity for pensioners and disadvantaged families by an average of $500 a year.

Environmental and solar groups have been seeking to turn solar PV into an election issue. Last year, the Solar Energy Council released a report on how solar could impact on marginal electorates, and RenewEconomy published similar research in WA Federal seats, and its musings on how solar leasing could be used to Labor’s advantage – Zero-cost solar: Will this be Gillard’s secret election weapon – was one of the most read articles of 2012.

MacLaren says the Greens scheme would reduce emissions by 74,000 tonnes a year and provide a boost to the bottom line of thousands of pensioners, as well as a lift to the WA solar industry.

“It is a win, win, win situation,” she said in a statement. “We have calculated that the cost of the project would be $68 million spread over three years. The cost is based on $2000 a roof plus around $276 a home for a smart meter.

“WA has an abundant supply of sunshine so why don’t we make use of the thousands of hectares of roof space on public and community housing to benefit the people who live in these homes and to bring down WA’s carbon emissions.”

The WA Greens have four seats in the 36-seat upper house of the WA parliament, and are seeking to reclaim the seat of Fremantle in the lower house. Most polls point to the conservative government retaining power, but some suggest it may be closer than the polls suggest.

 

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  • http://www.mutilatethemortgage.com Mortgage Mutilator @ Mutilate The Mortgage

    Sold.

    Sure it might be stuffed up or inefficient or cost more than they say… but then again what government plan doesn’t?

    Any leader that makes putting a stop to fossil fuels and their subsidies and instead hugely promotes and funds solar/wind/etc will get my full vote and all others around me I can convince.

  • http://www.futuresmart.com.au Ray Wills

    With 22,000 public housing homes and 8,000 community housing units making 30,000 homes, and a total of 45 MW capacity – delivered for $68 million. That’s a pretty cheap power station…

    WA already has 120 000 homes and 260 MW solar capacity to date so its not an overly massive program, nor an overly ambitious time table, and over the space of a couple of years with prices os solar falling, if the project gets up it will probably cost less not more!

  • David

    This proposal is utterly illogical.

    If you wanted to install 45 MW of solar panels, why would you choose to place them on 22000 separate roofs (or even on one roof for that matter)with 22000 separate inverters etc.? The comunity’s money would be better spent by building one or two grid scale solar installations where it would get more power for its dollar, have lower on-going maintenance costs and be better able to manage the integration.
    Or better still place them in remote communities where they will displace diesel.

    • Kingsley

      You make a good point David regarding better ways to offset CO2 but the economic value of offsetting the power people in social housing would otherwise have to buy at close to full retail and the social benefit that accrues form them saving that money mean that you get many times the benefit that just building a large scale PV power station would bring. In addition you get distributed generation which helps keep upgrades to power infrastructure away. Another saving to government. A win-win-win-win indeed.