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February 16, 2021
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Solar panel project lightens load for vulnerable families

More than 50 of North Queensland’s most vulnerable families will collectively save over $120,000 on energy bills every year after their landlord installed solar power at their homes.

Local community housing organisation Yumba-Meta Ltd (YML) teamed up with SuperGreen Solutions to utilise the Queensland Government’s Solar for rentals trial rebate.

The organisation is investing $70,000 to install 6.6kw solar array (array means multiple panels together) and 5kw inverters on 52 properties across the Townsville region.

YML delivers housing and support services to vulnerable North Queenslanders with a focus on advocating for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) community.

“We understand the difficulties our tenants are facing, particularly with rising energy costs,” YML Finance Manager Changyi Liu said.

“Some of our tenants are the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members in the community, living on minimum household income with a large percentage of them either in payment arrangements with Ergon or in default due to rising electricity costs,” he said.

“YML is also committed to green energy solutions and sustainable growth and had already started to install solar panels using our own cash reserves, but this was at a limited pace.

“The Government’s Solar for rentals trial rebate has allowed us to rollout the commitment at full pace and help more of our tenants financially as well as do our bit for the environment.”

YML tenant Janelle Burns said the solar panels were already making a huge difference to her family, saving them over $900 off their quarterly electricity bill.
“It’s really great, it’s saving us so much money. It’ll help take the pressure off covering the bills and the kids and I will be able to get out and about and do more activities together.”

SuperGreen Solutions assisted Yumba-Meta Limited to access the grant and carried out the installations between February and June this year, a challenge given the scale of the project, COVID-19 restrictions, and the vulnerability of some of the tenants.

SuperGreen Solutions Energy Management Advisor Brendan Cochrane said 35kw of solar array was installed as part of the project which will generate just under two Megawatts of clean energy per day and save around $600 on the average quarterly electricity bill.

“We’re proud to have been able to support Yumba-Meta Ltd to make a difference to so many people in our community,” he said.

“From a carbon emissions perspective, it’s fantastic to see organisations such as YML investing in significantly reducing their greenhouse footprints and from a humanitarian perspective, it’s wonderful to see the lifestyles of their tenants being improved through solar energy.”