Council to help pensioners go solar and cut power bills

Sam Shalders

Posted Friday 16 June, 04:35pm

Pensioners are signing up for a pioneering Ararat Rural City Council program that will help to install solar and save money on their electricity bills.

The Solar Savers program is helping pensioners to install solar with no upfront costs. Participating households will gradually pay for their panels through their rates payments over 10 years. At the same time, power bill savings will more than cover the cost of loan repayments. The Solar Savers model means every household will be at least $100 ahead at the end of each year.

If you are a homeowner and have a pension card, contact Solar Savers on 9385 8512 to see if you are eligible.  Solar Savers is being managed by the Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (EAGA) on behalf of participating councils.

Ararat Rural City Council Mayor, Cr Paul Hooper said the program was helping pensioners to save money, stay comfortable in extreme weather, and lower their emissions.

“Ararat Rural City Council is very happy to be leading the way and helping local households in need with this pioneering program,” Cr Hooper said.

Cr Hooper said that the decision to focus on pensioners was a deliberate one.

“We know that pensioners often have the most to gain from solar power – many own their homes and use most of their power when the sun is shining,” he said.

“But the upfront cost can deter pensioners from going solar. We’re removing that barrier.” 

EAGA Executive Officer at Solar Savers, Scott McKenry said the complexity and confusion was also taken out of going solar under the scheme.

“Before they sign up, we do checks to make sure that solar is the right choice and will save them money,” he said.

“We also take care of finding a trusted installer and a quality, affordable solar system. So pensioners are getting the benefit of our years of solar expertise.”

Solar Savers has been funded with a $760,000 grant through the Victorian Government New Energy Jobs Fund.

The program is being rolled out across 20 Victorian councils to 2019. After that, there are plans to extend the program to benefit pensioners across the state. 

There are a limited number of places available in Ararat’s Solar Savers program, for more information visit the Environment section of our website.