Can Solar Power Be A Cost-Saving Retrofit For Social Housing?

abstract mounting of solar panels on yellow background

In some countries (America in particular), decades of neglect to social housing has presented an overwhelming mountain of repairs for many local housing authorities.1 What future then, for improvements that go beyond catch-up towards the most basic liveability standards?

Like what? Well, an urgent response to the burgeoning climate crisis for one. Too much to expect? Some of these climate-driven responses will actually save housing authorities money in the longer term. Meanwhile, the truly affordable housing crisis plaguing so many countries has been exacerbated by war-driven waves of impoverished refugees.2 There is an ever-deepening need to build new social housing, as well as to preserve and improve what already exists.

Using solar panels to supplement electrical service in social housing is one example. In single-family dwellings, its cost-effectiveness is already proven.

Installing solar panels can augment a more traditional electrical supply when a housing authority pays for the building’s entire electrical service. And in the happy circumstance of generating excess electricity, it can be sold.

But what happens when electrical power is metered to each home? How could a supplemental source of cheaper electricity be fairly distributed to tenants preventing, say, one electricity hog sponging up most of the bargain solar-generated electricity?

Australia has a solution to this particular problem. Fight your way past an article headline that will be truly incomprehensible to most and read more in ecogeneration: Salvo’s to trial Allume shared solar solution with ARENA backing

And indeed, ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) has recently announced it is partnering with Tesla3 in a ‘Virtual Power Plant’ solar panel project. It is expected to provide as much as 80% of total power consumption to 3,000 social housing homes in South Australia. Read more in Renewables Now:  Australian govt, Tesla to expand VPP in S Australia

Footnotes

  1. Try: Can A Public Trust Help Solve NYCHA’s Multi-Billion Dollar Repair Woes?
  2. Try: Welcoming A Tidal Wave Of Battlefield Migrants To Europe’s Pre-Existing Housing Crises
  3. Tesla the pioneering car company and a leader in the design of electric storage batteries.