Clean Power Western Australia sign via Shutterstock

Published on February 4th, 2013 | by Giles Parkinson


Western Australia Greens Propose Solar On All Public Housing

February 4th, 2013 by  

This article was originally published on Renew Economy (images added).

Western Australia sign via Shutterstock

The WA Greens have unveiled a $68 million plan to install solar PV panels on all public housing homes, in what could be an interesting test of the ability of solar to gain traction as an election issue.

The plan announced by Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren would involve installing a 1.5kW solar PV system on the roof of public housing homes and apartments, and on another 8,000 community housing units.

It is estimated to cost around $68 million, but the Greens say it could reduce the cost of electricity for pensioners and disadvantaged families by an average of $500 a year.

Environmental and solar groups have been seeking to turn solar PV into an election issue. Last year, the Solar Energy Council released a report on how solar could impact on marginal electorates, and RenewEconomy published similar research in WA Federal seats, and its musings on how solar leasing could be used to Labor’s advantage – Zero-cost solar: Will this be Gillard’s secret election weapon – was one of the most read articles of 2012.

Perth, Western Australia via Shutterstock

MacLaren says the Greens scheme would reduce emissions by 74,000 tonnes a year and provide a boost to the bottom line of thousands of pensioners, as well as a lift to the WA solar industry.

“It is a win, win, win situation,” she said in a statement. “We have calculated that the cost of the project would be $68 million spread over three years. The cost is based on $2000 a roof plus around $276 a home for a smart meter.

“WA has an abundant supply of sunshine so why don’t we make use of the thousands of hectares of roof space on public and community housing to benefit the people who live in these homes and to bring down WA’s carbon emissions.”

The WA Greens have four seats in the 36-seat upper house of the WA parliament, and are seeking to reclaim the seat of Fremantle in the lower house. Most polls point to the conservative government retaining power, but some suggest it may be closer than the polls suggest. 
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About the Author

is the founding editor of, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.

  • Great article Giles

  • Bob

    I don’t support this scheme as the costing will be passed back to other low income familys, who already can’t afford electricity . That cost all ways ends up on others electricity accounts, those not in public housing will have to pay that cost with higher electricity bills.

    • Lisa

      Sound like a good idea, but as soon as the grid connected rooftop solar panels go up they will be vandalise & stolen. We don’t live in green utopia and public housing is the last place solar panels should be, there is also public safety issue with solar power high voltage dc on the rooftop. And at the end of the day it people of WA that have to pick up the tab on there electricity bill to pay this 68 millions waste of money with no base load power.

      • Bob_Wallace

        You guys enjoying your heat waves, raging fires and extreme floods?

        Keep on burning that coal. You’l get more and more of that stuff.

        Stupidity has a price.

        • linda

          We are no longer in control of what we do, nor can we stop china armada lining up there ships for Aussie coal & raw mineral. Everyday the china nocks at the door demanding more and more Aussie coal & raw mineral, we keep our mouth shut our head down we live in a different time where one could express concern is no longer an option.

          • Bob_Wallace

            This it terrible news!!!

            I had no idea that Australia had been invaded by Chinese troops who were forcing you to sell China coal at gun point.

            I suppose they are also forcing you to get 90% of your electricity from coal as well.

            Those dastardly Chinese.

          • Ronald Brakels

            You have no idea what it’s like, Bob! The Chinese are forcing me to eat a whole packet of Tim-Tams right now with their insidious mind control.

          • Holy Shit! We are all screwed. Yet another reason to not do our part in cutting our own emissions. Thanks goodness we have all been illuminated by these words and can now see the futility of all our actions!

      • I’d love some proof of that before you make such a wild claim. These would be on the roof (why would anyone go out of their way to vandalize their electricity source?) and i’m sure they wouldn’t be installed in a way easy to steal. plus, is there a market for stolen solar panels in Oz?

    • As the article stated, this policy would *save* the government money.

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