29 May 2019

Rebate makes solar switch easier for Canberra businesses

| Ian Bushnell
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The ACT Government wants to see more businesses put solar panels on their premises’ roofs. File photo.

Rebates of up to $5000 are available to eligible small businesses and community organisations to install rooftop solar panels under a new ACT Government energy program.

The free Actsmart Solar for Business program, formally launched on Tuesday (28 May) at Weston Creek Uniting Church, aims to support more Canberra businesses to take up the solar options so they can cut their energy bills and help the environment.

Since the trial commenced in February, over 50 businesses and community organisations – ranging from small not-for-profit groups through to large corporations – are receiving tailored advice and support from an Actsmart team member to help them transition to suitable solar systems. Two solar systems have been installed and a further eight installations are in progress.

Weston Creek Uniting Church is the second of 10 businesses and community organisations to be receiving subsidised rooftop solar systems under the program, which has a limited number of rebates available.

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said that by installing a 40-panel, 12kW system, Weston Creek Uniting Church was expected to save about $2900 a year on its electricity bills.

“They were also able to purchase their solar system at two-thirds the cost by accessing the rebate under the trial program – for a small organisation, savings like these can make all the difference,” he said.

Weston Creek Uniting Church’s Simon Herder and Climate Change Minister Shane Rattenbury. Photo: Supplied.

The church’s treasurer and property manager, Simon Herder, said the grant made it all possible and the advice from Actsmart was crucial to a quick and easy process.

“We couldn’t have done it without the Actsmart people helping us,” he said.

Actsmart took the church through the process, checked the contract to ensure it was with a reputable company, and guided the system’s installation.

“It’s part of the climate picture and we all want to be part of that. The congregation was thrilled when they found out council wanted to do it,” he said.

Mr Rattenbury said the trial helped address the key barriers to installing rooftop solar including upfront financial cost and limited knowledge about rooftop solar such as site requirements, how to best compare products and green financing options.

“We know that Canberra households are taking up solar options in droves, doing their bit for the planet while keeping energy costs down. Now, more businesses and other community organisations can reap the benefits of rooftop solar,” he said.

“The business community have been telling us that they are time poor, don’t feel they have the right expertise to invest in solar, and are sometimes hesitant about the pitch from sales people. Being able to access independent, plain-speak advice from Government can help overcome these barriers, supporting more Canberra businesses to take up solar options that suit their needs.”

Late last year, a similar program was also launched to support solar uptake for low-income households. The program offers support to households most in need by helping them bring down their energy costs – with estimated savings of $300 to $900 a year.

It comes as the ACT is on track to reach its 100 per cent renewable electricity target by 2020 and legislated target to realise zero net emissions by 2045 at the latest.

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