The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will supply $1 million in funding to Ausgrid to boost its innovative grant program for rooftop solar and energy efficient lighting.

Ausgrid’s program will incentivise and encourage households and businesses to adopt energy efficiency measures such as installing new solar power systems and LED lighting upgrades through selected installers.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA’s funding will expand the Power2U program to a footprint of 15 suburbs across Sydney including Bankstown, Alexandria, Glebe and Pyrmont.

The program will also be supported by the City of Sydney with a further $750,000 in funding, bringing the total project to $3.5 million in incentives. The program will run until June 2020.

The program will include targeting customer segments that have low renewables uptake and are traditionally difficult to reach, with the aim of avoiding or reducing the need to replace ageing electricity network infrastructure by lowering demand on the grid – particularly curbing energy use during the day.

ARENA CEO, Darren Miller, said the funding boost for the scheme would help reduce energy costs for participating customers while also reducing demand to help avoid the need for network upgrades.

“The project will provide Ausgrid and other distribution network service providers around Australia greater confidence in the ability of renewable and efficiency solutions to offset network expenditure which has traditionally been very difficult to address with demand management,” Mr Miller said.

“Ausgrid’s program will encourage greater uptake of low emission technologies and solutions, reduce energy costs for participating consumers and reduce demand on Sydney’s grid.”

Ausgrid CEO, Richard Gross, said the evolution of Sydney’s electricity grid would directly benefit customers and Sydney’s economic growth.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Ausgrid customers to be part of an innovative program that will help reduce electricity use, make the grid more sustainable, improve affordability and benefit the environment.

“Our network has the second lowest rate of solar take-up by customers due to the high number of apartments and businesses in our footprint, but this project could realise a solution that would possibly increase the number of solar installations on apartment buildings and leased commercial properties,” Mr Gross said.

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