Slashing energy costs and emissions

L to R: Yolk Property Group Director Tao Bourton, Department of Communities Development Manager Julian Munrowd-Harris, Managing Director of Infinite Energy Aidan Jenkins and Simon Flesher on behalf of Ventura Home Group.

A progressive solar power purchasing agreement has been brokered that will deliver a group of households in Western Australian savings of up to $600 a year on their energy bills, or $6,000 over the life of the 10-year agreement.  The PPA deal amounts to a 40 per cent saving on daytime solar electricity. The question is can this model pave the way for solar PPAs to become the norm for millions of homes across Australia?

Developed by Yolk Property Group and Infinite Energy, in collaboration with the Department of Communities and Ventura Home Group, the PPA will be implemented in a pilot program at a new estate 10 kilometres north of Perth. The 129 dwellings at Girrawheen comprise house and land packages, apartments and townhouses.

It is being touted the first time a PPA has been rolled out at a green title residential development in Western Australia. 

Director of Yolk Property Group Tao Bourton said the PPA is not a marketing gimmick but “A long-term solution to address rising household costs associated with the volatile power market [in which] Australians pay the highest rates for residential electricity in the world.”

Bourton said the PPA was a coup for residents and developers alike, as purchasers are not required to pay for the installation and running of the solar technology and developers can customise the PPA to create a version that does not affect profits.

He pointed out the PPA gives consumers the ability to reduce their carbon footprint without any effort and could considerably reduce carbon emissions long term. Homebuyers also have the option to integrate battery storage and an electric vehicle charger.

After ten years residents take ownership of the solar equipment to enjoy free solar power for the life of the equipment, which is over 20 years, delivering cost savings to two generations.

While many developers offer solar and battery systems, no one in WA is offering reduced electricity costs via a PPA, Bourton says.

“This could be an absolute game changer.

“If all developments in Australia rolled it out, the reduction of carbon emissions would be immense. It would help Australia become a world-leader in the up-take of renewable energy,” he said, adding the property industry would likely be keeping watch of the pilot program over the next two to three years.”

He commented that as with any untrialled new initiative it is not without risk, “but we’re committed to pushing the boundaries of green development to find ways to make sustainability affordable and attractive for developers, government and purchasers.”

According to the Australian Energy Market Commission’s latest Residential Electricity Price Trends Report, electricity prices in WA are expected to continue their upward trend, with an increase of 6.3 per cent on average each year for the next two years (from 1 July 2018).  

Managing Director of Infinite Energy Aidan Jenkins says the solution allows for an even greater number of households to access the benefits of solar energy, without the upfront cost of installing a system and that “This pilot paves the way for solar PPAs to become the norm for millions of homes across the country, delivering cheaper and cleaner electricity, including to those that do not have the surplus cash to purchase a solar system.”

The PPA will involve Infinite Energy taking full ownership and maintenance of the solar system on each house. Residents then purchase daytime electricity generated by the solar system at a rate equating to 40 per cent less than the Synergy A1 tariff. Any extra electricity the resident uses over and above what their solar system has produced is taken from the grid.

It is hoped that the information gathered from this pilot will encourage the PPA to be rolled out across all future residential developments nationally, with a similar model then applied to existing dwellings.

A range of other affordability and sustainability initiatives not seen in any other residential estates will also be implemented in future.

The Amble Estate officially launched 24 March 2018 and will deliver a mix of affordable and highly sustainable housing, with a minimum The Amble Estate will also offer private, social and shared equity housing opportunities.

Visit www.theambleestate.com.au

Talking of game changers, over in the US the populous state of California is about to take a quantum leap by requiring solar panels to be installed on all new homes from 2010.

With a population of 40 million, this is a significant step forward for the state and the renewables industry. 

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