CEFC to allocate up to $95 million for solar-powered, energy efficient homes in NSW

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The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is investing up to $95 million to support regional community housing provider Housing Plus develop 220 new highly energy efficient, solar-powered community housing dwellings in New South Wales (NSW). In addition to building new homes, the community housing provider plans to use the funding to install retrofits of rooftop solar and energy efficient technologies across some of its existing properties.

Housing Plus has secured the CEFC finance as part of its successful bid for inclusion in the second funding round offered by the NSW Social and Affordable Housing Fund. It plans to use the CEFC funding to deliver 47 new dwellings in Bathurst, 87 in Dubbo and 86 in Orange over the next three years.“We are delighted to be delivering one of the largest social and affordable housing programs the Central West region has seen for many years. This will support the local community and growth in the economy for years to come as well as create jobs in construction and services in the short term,” Housing Plus CEO David Fisher said.

The homes, which will boast rooftop solar and energy efficiency technologies, will be built to a minimum 7-Star National Housing Energy Rating System (NatHERS) standard, which translates into a 40% improvement on the energy efficiency achieved in homes built to the current minimum standard. A range of energy saving technologies will be used to reach the NatHERS target, including rooftop solar, battery installations, heat pumps, additional insulation, double glazing, smart meters, LED lighting and energy efficient white goods. The optimal combination of technologies will be determined by the CEFC and Housing Plus on a site-by-site basis.

“We are delighted to work with Housing Plus on this exciting project, which will bring the benefits of clean energy to low income families in regional New South Wales.  This is about helping families cut their energy costs while also benefiting the environment,” said CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth. “Once families settle in these new homes, the clean energy benefits will speak for themselves, with increased levels of comfort requiring significantly less energy for day-to-day living. These homes, because they require less energy, will also help reduce the emissions impact of our built environment.”

In 2016, the CEFC created the $250 million Community Housing Program targeting the construction of as many as 1,000 new energy efficient dwellings Australia-wide, via the network of Community Housing Providers. The program was launched following the release of a CEFC market report which identified strong demand for new Community Housing over the next decade, with more than 200,000 approved applicants on waiting lists for social and affordable housing Australia-wide. 

A year later, the CEFC made a $170 million finance commitment to housing provider SGCH to support the development of around 500 energy efficient homes in Sydney, as well as retrofitting a further 4,000 existing properties with energy efficient technologies, such as rooftop solar panels.