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Renewable energy retrofitting and energy poverty in low-income households: final report

Research report for United Housing Cooperative
Low-income consumers Renewable energy Energy consumption Energy justice Social housing Solar energy Household finance Melbourne

This report summarises the findings and recommendations from a pilot study titled Renewable Energy Retrofitting and Energy Poverty in Low-income Households. This collaborative industry research project between Swinburne University and United Housing, a community housing provider, investigates the effectiveness of small scale photovoltaic (PV) installations and energy performance feedback in alleviating energy poverty for cooperative housing tenants.

This small but in-depth study has followed the installation of solar PV in low-income households living in community rental housing in Melbourne's western suburbs, to investigate the effectiveness of PV installations and energy performance feedback in managing energy consumption for housing tenants, and identify the social and financial benefits associated with integration of PV technologies for this cohort. The research addresses a gap in knowledge in end users experiences, as there is little evaluation of the effectiveness of distributed energy technologies to meet the needs of tenants and community housing providers.

This project provides detailed evidence on the low-income families' energy needs, practices and usage, and evaluates financial and other benefits derived from PV Installation. The research identifies several challenges to integration of solar PV in low-income and vulnerable households. The research makes a valuable contribution to informing the development of effective mechanisms for delivery of affordable energy and alleviate energy poverty, to achieve societal goals.

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