• Premier announces no-interest loan scheme to boost solar power
Premier announces no-interest loan scheme to boost solar power
11 Feb, 2019, No Comment

Summary: A day after the NSW opposition announced a rebate to support households installing rooftop solar power, the Berejiklian government has countered with a scheme offering no-interest loans for solar energy and battery storage systems.....

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Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Energy Minister Don Harwin travelled to the Gaudry family home in Casula, in south-west Sydney on Sunday, to make a bid for voters worried about high power bills at the state election next month.

The government's plan is to offer interest-free loans of up to $14,000 for a solar-battery system for up to 300,000 owner-occupants of households with an annual income of up to $180,000 over the next decade.

"We know many families look at putting on solar panels or storage battery facilities but the upfront costs and the costs of installing those are so expensive," Ms Berejiklian said.

"Our government will be providing opportunities for up to 300,000 extra households to be able to put on solar panels or battery storage facilities without any upfront costs."

Labor has promised a rebate of up to $2200 for 500,000 owner-occupied households to install rooftop solar over the next decade - saving an average of $600 to $1000 a year on electricity bills.

Mr Perrottet said the government's plan meant that families with a $500 quarterly bill would save about $285 a year while repaying their loan, increasing to $2000 a year when the loan was repaid.

The cost in interest payments was $82.4 million over four years -  $520 million over 10 years -compared to a Labor plan that would cost more than $1 billion.

"Unlike Labor's policy which was scant on detail and had no batteries included, this ensures that not only do we have downward pressure on bills but importantly less pressure on the grid," he said.

The Gaudry family, whose last quarterly energy bill was $720, expected they would look closely at installing solar under the government's scheme.

"It's very appealing," Aaron Gaudry, a sales manager for the energy industry manufacturing company Sephco Industries, said. "The initial outlay - the costs associated with that - that's pretty much the only reason that I haven't taken it up so far."

The shadow minister for energy and climate change, Adam Searle, described the government's plan as a "lame" and "misleading" attempt to imitate Labor.

"They are not offering the people of NSW anything that they cannot already access today," he said. "Private solar companies already offer payment plans, no upfront fees and interest-free loans.

"Our plan provides a direct subsidy to eligible homes that will actually reduce the cost of putting solar on. Under their plan, householders will have to pay 100 per cent of the cost; under our plan, householders will get up to 50 per cent of the cost paid for."

While welcoming the boost for solar power whichever party won the election, the Nature Conservation Council noted the government's plan affected 200,000 fewer households than Labor’s.

“The Berejiklian government’s commitment to help 300,000 households access solar and batteries is welcome but is too little and too late after eight years of inaction on climate change and clean energy,” chief executive Kate Smolski said.

“It is good the Coalition has responded to the community’s demand for solar and batteries but it falls short of what’s needed to act on climate change and reduce household power bills.”


Garry Maddox, 10/02/2018, www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/premier-announces-no-interest-loan-scheme-to-boost-solar-power-20190210-p50wu0.html

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