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There are two barriers to rooftop solar, firstly people don’t know what to do or who to trust and secondly they have never had $5000 to get started. It seems to boil down to trust/knowledge and finance. There are many reasons to encourage rooftop solar; it’s good for the environment and good for the economy, but there are those that have been left behind paying crippling power prices running a business or living on a pension.

Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula (RDAWEP) are committed to identifying strategic and urgent action, with appropriate scale and speed to deliver social equity and more money in the local economy within our region. Partnering with the EPLGA, RDAWEP are developing a Community Solar Scheme (or bulk buy initiative) for Eyre Peninsula and we’d like to gauge your interest in a joint collaboration.

Local Government Bulk Buy Community Solar Schemes

Bulk buy rooftop solar programs for residents is one of the most successful strategies for which councils can demonstrate that they are putting in effort to reduce emissions in their communities and simultaneously reduce the financial strain of rising electricity prices. The strategy has been found to be more effective than rebate programs. The reason for the success is that it combines bulk buying efficiencies along with the trusted conduit of local government and its procurement, technical and administrative capabilities.

The bulk buy rooftop solar schemes developed by local government and/or its legislated subsidiaries or community organisations have evolved over the years and are gradually increasing in their scope to incorporate additional technologies such as batteries and address matters around financing (e.g. providing cash-positive platforms) and mechanisms for tenants to participate.

Why is local government important?

Councils are responsible for delivering hundreds of services and facilities that contribute to building strong and vibrant communities. The Local Government Act 1999 requires that a council is “responsive to the needs, interests and aspirations of individuals and groups within its community…”and that it must”…seek to ensure that council resources are used fairly…” This framework of responsibility has built a level of trust and interface with community that is often unique to local government.

It is this interface that has seen Port Pirie Regional Council, along with other local governments around Australia coordinate bulk buy solar programs which encourages residents to join together in purchasing rooftop solar for their homes, cutting the cost and saving hours of research looking at options.

Why is RDAWEP involved?

RDAWEP is researching all of the bulk buy rooftop solar programs delivered around Australia to ascertain their successes and challenges and to determine what scope would be the best fit for the Eyre Peninsula. Many schemes have had success in delivering outcomes to middle income earning residential properties but have been limited in their capacity to provide finance options for low income earners, socially disadvantaged, retirees and tenancies.

RDAWEP has been in discussion with major South Australian solar companies to deliver a community solar scheme for Eyre Peninsula and inspections have been undertaken at Australia’s only solar manufacturing plant in Mawson Lakes to see first-hand what it takes to construct a first class panel. There are numerous stories of solar installations going wrong, not lasting or underperforming. Any scheme recommended by local government would have to consider using only first class solar panels, quality inverters as well as robust warranties and service, and companies with an exemplary reputation.

Integrated finance is available from $240 a quarter (electricity savings should be greater than $240).

Why is an Eyre Peninsula Bulk Buy Community Solar Scheme important?

Many people on the Eyre Peninsula are interested in installing solar but are unable, or hesitate for various reasons such as:

  • Knowing which company to trust
  • Navigating the technical minefield
  • Sourcing high quality providers that mainly source cities to service remote locations
  • The upfront cost of installing solar, around $3,000 – $5000
  • Being a tenant and not a building owner


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