In a Western Australian first, a ground-breaking new solar power purchasing agreement (PPA) has been developed which will deliver significant, long-term cost savings to households.
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 The Amble Estate in Girrawheen. It will be the first time a PPA has been rolled out at a green title residential development in WA.
The pilot program will see solar systems installed at no cost on all participating homes in the estate, with the PPA to deliver a net 40 per cent saving on daytime solar electricity, offering residents a level of protection from fluctuations in power prices for the length of the 10-year PPA. It could deliver households savings of up to $600 a year, equating to a saving of $6,000 over the life of the agreement.
The PPA aims to reduce the economic burden felt by WA households which looks set to continue for some time, with the Australian Energy Market Commission’s latest Residential Electricity Price Trends Report outlining electricity prices in Western Australia are expected to continue their upward trend.
Director of Yolk Property Group Tao Bourton said the PPA delivers an innovative way to reduce household electricity costs with long-term savings.
“This is not a marketing gimmick but a considered long-term solution to address rising household costs associated with the volatile power market. Australians pay the highest rates for residential electricity in the world and this aims to remedy that with a model that can be rolled out nationally,” Mr Bourton said.
“The PPA allows residents to take advantage of significant savings on their solar electricity for an entire decade; after that, residents can 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,” he said.
Mr 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 said 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.
“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.
Managing Director of Infinite Energy Aidan Jenkins said, together with Yolk Property Group, they had designed a model which is set to disrupt the residential solar industry across the country.
“Australia is one of the sunniest continents in the world, with nearly a quarter of Australian homes already having solar panels installed on their roof. This solution allows for an even greater number of households to access the benefits of solar energy, without the upfront cost of installing a system,” Mr Jenkins said.
“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. After 10 years, residents will have the option to take ownership of the solar system and from that point on, will not pay anything for solar generated electricity. The PPA ensures any power consumed by the household during the PPA period will always be 40 per cent cheaper than traditional power supplied from the grid.
Mr Bourton said the property industry would likely be keeping watch of the pilot program at The Amble Estate over the next two to three years.
“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,” Mr Bourton said.
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.
In addition to the PPA, a range of other affordability and sustainability initiatives not seen in any other residential estates will be implemented, with details on these to be released soon. Bioregional’s One Planet Living framework is being implemented at the estate to guide built form and land development, and aid in a holistic and long-term approach to sustainability.
The Amble Estate officially launched 24 March 2018 and is a collaboration between Yolk Property Group, Ventura Home Group and the Department of Communities. The project will deliver a mix of affordable and highly sustainable housing, with a minimum 129 dwellings comprising house and land packages, apartments and townhouses. The Amble Estate will also offer private, social and shared equity housing opportunities.