Public housing tenants to save hundreds thanks to solar energy
The housing minister says a suite of new public housing units, powered by solar energy, will save tenants hundreds in power each year.
A three-storey Kainga Ora housing development in Riccarton, comprising of 20 new units, officially opened on Friday.
The building enables solar energy distribution between the units via a rooftop facility.
It is the first high-density universal design complex built by the government housing agency.
The homes are funded through the Māori and Public Housing Renewable Energy Fund and cater to tenants in the over-50 age bracket.
Housing Minister Megan Woods said there were plans to deliver more than a thousand public homes over the next two years.
"We are focused on building public homes that are warm, efficient and accessible in well-connected area close to transport and shops and amenities," Woods said.
"These homes have been built to a high 8 Homestar rating."
Woods, who also holds the Energy and Resources portfolio, said the solar energy system would save tenants between $350-400 a year in their power bills.
"An advantage of the technology is that it doesn't restrict the customers' choice of electricity retailer, and there's no need to sign up for additional billing services or platforms, so nothing changes for customers other than their power bill."
Tenants will pay rent based on 25 percent of their income through the Ministry of Social Development's Income-related rent subsidy.
Woods there needed to be the "right mix" of public housing supply.
"There'll be families that want more traditional single dwelling on a larger section, then there'll be people over 50 that would probably like the security, the social aspects, and also a great place to live here in Riccarton."
Placements for the one-bedroom apartments are underway, with people starting to move into the new units from mid-July onwards.
There are 1105 public homes in the pipeline until 2025.