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3,000 Aussie homes score free solar panels, saving $300 a year

Top right: Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. Bottom right: NSW Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean. (Source: AAP)

New South Wales is set to become a whole lot more green due to two new initiatives by the state government and the City of Sydney that see greater investment in renewable energy.

The NSW government is trialling a new scheme that will see 3-kilowatt solar panels installed in 3,000 low-income households across the state, expected to save residents more than $300 a year.

Eligible households will be currently receiving the Low Income Household Rebate but agree to opt out of it for 10 years; hold a valid Pensioner Concession Card or a Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card; must own their own house and not be living in a retirement village or strata building; and not already have a solar PV system.

NSW households receiving the Low Income Household Rebate get up to $285 a year as credit on each quarterly energy bill.

Eligible NSW residents must be from the Central Coast, North Coast, south of Sydney, Illawarra’s Shoalhaven, or the South Coast.

The scheme is designed to help reduce energy costs for some families, Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean said today.

“For low-income households the cost of buying and installing a rooftop solar system can be prohibitive, so we've set up this trial so more of these home owners can unlock the savings benefit offered by rooftop solar generation,” he said.

"In addition to potential bill savings, the addition of up to 3,000 more rooftop solar systems will add more than eight megawatts of renewable capacity to help support a clean, affordable and reliable electricity grid.”

City of Sydney’s $60 million plan to go 100 per cent renewable

The City of Sydney will today also announce a $60 million green energy plan that will see the council’s electricity entirely powered by wind and solar, a commitment that the council projects will save up to $5 million over the next 10 years.

Solar panels have already been installed onto the Sydney Town Hall roof.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said acting on climate change was the city’s “top priority”.

“We were among the first governments at any level to set targets in line with climate science in 2008, and since then we’ve reduced our emissions by 20 per cent on 2006 levels,” she said as reported in SMH.

Flow Power managing director Matthew van der Linden; City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore; Repower Shoalhaven's Robert Haywood. (Source: Supplied)

“The City has been certified carbon neutral since 2011 and will now achieve its commitment to reduce emissions by 70 per cent six years ahead of our 2030 deadline.”

The council’s agreement with Flow Power will see 75 per cent of the council’s pools, libraries and other buildings powered by wind farms, with the rest powered by solar farms.

“If just 20 per cent of the market followed the City’s lead, it would drive investment in 11 gigawatts of new renewable generation – that’s double the current pipeline of renewable projects,” said Flow Power CEO Matthew van der Linden.

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