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SA energy concession holders are being offered free solar systems. Do you qualify?


The state government is hoping to reduce energy bills for low-income households. But, there's a catch.

The Switch for Solar pilot program, first announced in February, has officially launched in South Australia. Up to 1,000 energy concession holders will be offered free solar systems to help reduce their cost of electricity by hundreds of dollars.

But the question remains, is this initiative really "free" of cost to SA concession holders? The answer is yes and no.

Eligible low-income households will have to forego their Cost of Living Concession (COLC) to have these rooftop solar power systems installed.

If they do choose to install solar, they could be looking to give up $215.10 per year for the Cost of Living Concession and $231.41 per year towards their energy bill. This amount will vary depending on the type of concession they're signed up to.

The Switch for Solar program will run across 19 locations across SA, primarily in Adelaide's north as well as the regional areas of Ridgehaven, Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island. These areas were selected based on where the network can best accommodate the volume of solar installations.

Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said all eligible residents will be contacted directly. Some people should have already started receiving calls as of 17 May.

This pilot program is a great chance for concession holders to not just access more affordable electricity but cleaner electricity – more than 56 per cent of electricity generated in South Australia was from renewable sources last financial year and we're aiming for net 100 per cent renewable generation by 2030.

Use our comprehensive guide to solar to learn more. Otherwise, continue reading to see which energy concessions you might be eligible for.

Types of SA energy concessions

As a SA resident on a low or fixed income, you could be eligible for one or more energy concessions from the government.

For the 2020/2021 financial year, your income should not be more than the limits shown below.

StatusFortnightly incomeAnnual income
Single with children$716$18,616

If you believe you fall under these income brackets, here's a look at SA energy concessions currently available.

Energy Bill Concessions

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What is it? Concession card holders are eligible for energy discounts. You could receive up to $231.41 to cover your energy payments, including fuels used to generate electricity. This concession amount may change in the new financial year.

Am I eligible? You can get an energy bill concession in the following situations:

  • You live at the property
  • The energy account is in your name
  • You have a valid concession card
  • You are not living with anyone earning more than $3,000 a year (exceptions apply)
  • You are an asylum seeker meeting certain criteria

How to apply

SA Energy Concession Discount Offer

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What is it? The SA Concession Energy Discount Offer (SACEDO) allows eligible Origin customers a guaranteed ongoing 21% off electricity usage and supply charges. The provider will give a 90-day heads-up for any changes.

Am I eligible? It's available to concession card holders only.

Phone Origin to apply

Medical heating and cooling concession

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What is it? This is for anyone with a clinically verified medical condition who requires frequent use of heating or cooling. It's available in addition to the Energy Bill Concession.

Am I eligible? You are eligible in the following situations:

  • Your home and application addresses match
  • You have a medical condition or are the parent or legal guardian of someone suffering from health problems
  • You are financially responsible for your energy bill
  • You hold a valid concession card or receive an eligible concession

How to apply

Cost of Living Concession

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What is it? It reduces the cost of basic utilities such as electricity, water and gas. You can get anywhere from $107.60 to $715.10 in concession, depending on your living situation. The amount could change in the new financial year.

Am I eligible? The concession is only for people in the following situations:

  • One person per household
  • Anyone who meets the low-income threshold, has an eligible concessions card or receives an eligible Centrelink payment
  • Someone who doesn't live with a person earning more than the low-income provisions (exceptions apply)

How to apply

Residential Park Resident Concession

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Who can get it? South Australia residents living in a residential or caravan park can apply for this concession. It'll help them cover the cost of their energy, water and sewerage bills. You could get anywhere between $360.51 and $548.81 per year (paid quarterly). This amount might change in the new financial year. In some cases, you might also be able to receive the Cost of Living Concession.

Am I eligible? You are eligible in the following situations:

  • The property is your primary residence
  • You hold a valid concessions card or receive an eligible concession

How to apply

Interested in what energy rebates and concessions are being offered elsewhere in Australia? Read our guide to get familiar with laws set in other states.

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