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The New South Wales State and Federal Governments have unveiled a $206 million package for energy saving upgrades in social housing properties, including a number community renewable energy projects.

The package includes access to solar for low-income renters and apartment residents. The government said that some social housing properties are among the least energy-efficient homes in the country, often lacking basic insulation and modern appliances.

Upgrading an average house from a one-star rating to a three-star rating can reduce energy consumption by 30 per cent and decrease power bills.

The state and federal governments are providing matched funding of $87.5 million ($175 million total over four years) to help reduce energy bills for tenants and keep homes cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Over 24,000 homes will be eligible for upgrades including heat pump hot water systems, ceiling fans, reverse-cycle air conditioners, solar systems, insulation and draught proofing.

The social housing properties will be a mix of New South Wales Government-owned and managed homes, along with those overseen by community housing providers.

Priority will be given to the least energy-efficient properties – often older homes built prior to minimum construction standards – along with locations that experience extreme heat and cold.

The Federal Government is also investing $30 million to make sure low-income households and apartment residents can reap the saving of renewables by helping to fund rooftop solar installations on apartments, or accessing a portion of a ‘solar garden’ community energy plot.  

The Solar Banks initiative will deliver rebates of up to 50 per cent of rooftop solar installation costs for multi-unit dwellings.

Low-income households, apartment residents and renters who can’t install or afford onsite rooftop solar will be eligible for a subsidy to purchase an offsite solar garden portion of a large scale solar farm under the deal.

More than 10,000 households will be able to access the Solar Banks program, which could save households up to $600 a year.

A further $1 million will be invested in community renewable energy projects on the Far South Coast, delivering on the Australian Government’s election commitment. The funding will go to local clean energy projects which will create local jobs, deliver cleaner, cheaper energy to local communities.

These initiatives come as joint State and Federal Government energy bill rebates continue to flow.

Up to 1.6 million eligible households are being supported with $500 to help pay their electricity bills.

Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, said, “Saving energy means saving money, which is why we’re continuing to deliver cost of living relief for families that need it most without adding to inflation.

“This $206 million package will mean 30,000 households across New South Wales will be able to access upgrades that will make their homes more energy efficient.

“We want all Australians to have access to cleaner, cheaper energy. Renewable energy for social housing helps power bills and is good for the environment.”

New South Wales Premier, Chris Minns, said, “Our number one priority is helping people across NSW with the cost of living, and helping with power bills is a key pillar of that.

“We are investing to save people money while also getting New South Wales’ energy transition back on track.

“We are proud to partner with the Albanese Government to deliver cheaper, cleaner energy to some of the least energy efficient houses in the country.”

Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, said, “Critical energy upgrades in social housing properties and strong solar energy incentives for apartment block residents across New South Wales will deliver cleaner, cheaper energy to more Australians.

“The Albanese Government is helping those who can’t currently access energy upgrades and solar power reap the rewards of the clean energy transformation.

“Today’s announcement comes on top of our Energy Price Relief Plan, which is supporting 1.6 million eligible New South Wales households with $500 off their bills.”

New South Wales Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Penny Sharpe, said, “By partnering with the Commonwealth, we will be able to roll out a series of vital upgrades and initiatives that will deliver bill savings for low-income earners, make homes more comfortable to live in and reduce carbon emissions.

“The Minns Government is investing in social housing through long overdue energy efficiency upgrades to improve equity in the energy transition.

“The Solar Banks program will support over 10,000 apartment dwellers and renters who have traditionally been locked out of owning solar.”

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