In an Australian first initiative announced today, inhousing in partnership with Australia’s leading solar and battery installer Natural Solar, will be incorporating solar and battery storage into Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) designed for use by eligible participants of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

This first move into renewable energy for eligible participants of the NDIS will incorporate a property development in Salisbury, South Australia, followed by the potential for a wider roll-out in developments across the country. Solar and battery integration into each newly built property will reduce the electricity and household costs of Australian residents with significant disability living in SDA under the NDIS.

“The move to battery storage is about making an impact for those who truly need the support,” says Chris Williams, CEO & Founder of Natural Solar.

“Each home will be eligible for sonnenFlat, which will drastically cut the price of power for tenants. Currently the national annual average cost of power is $2,000 each year. Under this new electricity plan, residents will no longer have to pay for power, and will only outlay a monthly flat administration fee of $40, saving residents up to $1,520 per year.”

Natural Solar has also developed custom functionality for these teants with each battery retaining a minimum of 20% charge at all times. In the event of a blackout or power outage, backup power will be activated, whereby the resident can prioritise household appliances to continue to run in order to avoid disruption.

“With the strong and rising household penetration of solar panels – and with the take up of batteries expected to increase as prices drop – it is clear that household solar systems have an increasing role in helping Australian households to manage energy costs,” said Paul Fletcher, Minister for Families and Social Services.

“Australians with disability should have access to the same energy choices in their homes – and that is why I am pleased to see this example of a specialist disability accommodation development using the latest home solar technology. I have no doubt we will see more of this in the future.

“If this delivers more choice and lower power prices for Australians with disability, it will bring significant benefits – benefits which can be expected to increase as the technology advances,” Minister Fletcher said.

In the initial development, each two bedroom, one bathroom single-storey accessible home will be fitted with a 10kWh sonnen Battery Eco including backup power, and a 5.2 kWp solar system with Q-Cell panels. The solar panels will produce power, and the battery will store excess power produced, giving tenants power in how, and when they choose to use their stored power.

“Solar and batteries open up huge potential for SDA tenants under the NDIS, and we can see the opportunity ahead which is why we’ve elected to partner with Natural Solar on this development,” says Geoff Barber, COO from inhousing.

“This is our first foray into utilising renewable energy technology on our housing developments, and we are excited to see the benefits for our tenants and in future, extend battery and solar to a wider number of residents around the country.”

“The way these batteries will improve the quality of life for eligible participants of the NDIS is truly impressive. This is the first time Natural Solar has worked to build a solution of this calibre for a partnership and is amazing functionality for the occupants. This is two-fold in both the environment and the community,” Mr Williams said.

For more information on the NDIS, click here. To learn more about how you can access the NDIS, click here.

What is the NDIS?

What is the NDIS? The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the new way of providing support for people with disability, their families and carers in Australia. The NDIS will provide about 460,000 Australians under the age of 65 with a permanent and significant disability with the reasonable and necessary supports they need to live an ordinary life. Reasonable and necessary supports help people with disability achieve their goals, including independence, community involvement, employment and wellbeing.

Source: NDS

Source: NDS

Supports may include personal care and support, access to the community, therapy services and essential equipment. The NDIS also provides people with disability, their families and carers with information and referrals to support services in the community. Australians will now have peace of mind that if their child or loved one is born with or acquires a significant disability that is likely to be with them for life they will get the support they need, when they need it. The NDIS commenced on 1 July, 2013 in several trial locations across the country. During the three-year trial period, 30,000 Australians with disability entered the Scheme. Following the successful trial, the NDIS entered a unique period of transition with the commencement of the national rollout on 1 July, 2016. The NDIS is being introduced in stages around the country over three years to ensure it is successful and sustainable. In addition to providing much needed supports to participants, the NDIS also promotes a community-wide approach to improving accessibility and social participation for people with disability.

Why the NDIS?

The NDIS replaces a disability system that was unfair and inefficient with a new, national system that is world-leading, equitable and sustainable. The NDIS is the most significant economic and social reform since the introduction of Medicare in the 1970s which has been agreed to by governments for the benefit of all Australians. In 2010 the Australian Government asked the Productivity Commission to carry out a public inquiry into a long-term disability care and support scheme.

Source: NDS

Source: NDS

The Productivity Commission received over 1000 submissions from people within the disability sector. The Productivity Commission’s 2011 report stated, “from an economic perspective, the benefits of the NDIS will exceed the costs.” It found the NDIS would ultimately add one per cent to the country’s gross domestic product – a significant boost to Australia’s economy. A PwC report released in 2011, argued that the NDIS would pay for itself. It found that by 2035, the cost to governments of disability support, without reform, would be two to three times the cost of the NDIS. It is also expected that there will be significant workforce growth opportunities across Australia, with 88,000 new jobs being created as the demand for disability services grows.

What is Specialist disability accommodation (SDA)?

There are a number of different housing solutions and/or supports a

participant must consider alongside their individual circumstances and disability support needs when determining the best housing solution for their situation.

One of the supports that may be funded for some participants is Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).

Source: DSC

Source: ANAO

SDA refers to accommodation for people who require specialist housing solutions, including to assist with the delivery of supports that cater for their extreme functional impairment or very high support needs. Funding is only provided to a small proportion of NDIS participants with extreme functional impairment or very high support needs who meet specific eligibility criteria.

SDA funding under the NDIS is intended to stimulate investment in the development of new high quality dwellings for use by eligible NDIS participants. It does not refer to the support services, but instead to the homes in which these services are delivered.

Am I eligible for the NDIS?

Source: NDIS Quarterly Report, Quarter 4, 2016-17 Report, 30 June.

The NDIS so far:

-$7.3 billion committed for participant support costs

-96,772 participants with an approved NDIS plan

-84 per cent of surveyed participants in the quarter rated their experience either good or very good –8,698 service providers have been registered

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