Power strug­gles over so­lar pol­icy

Lib bat­tery loan scheme ver­sus ALP re­bate

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - JACK HOUGHTON

THE Bere­jik­lian gov­ern­ment has un­veiled its an­swer to NSW La­bor’s $1 bil­lion so­lar re­bate scheme by of­fer­ing no-in­ter­est loans for so­lar pan­els and bat­ter­ies.

Premier Gladys Bere­jik­lian an­nounced yes­ter­day the 10-year Em­pow­er­ing Homes pro­gram, which will give up to 300,000 house­holds across the state ac­cess to in­ter­est-free loans to in­stall so­lar en­ergy and bat­tery stor­age sys­tems.

Un­der the scheme a fam­ily with a $2000 an­nual en­ergy bill would save up to $285 off that bill while also pay­ing off the loan at a rate of $145 a month.

How­ever, the $14,000 loans for so­lar bat­tery sys­tems would take eight years to pay off at that rate and the bat­ter­ies may need re­plac­ing af­ter just 10 years.

The gov­ern­ment will also of­fer loans of $9000 for just the bat­tery sys­tem.

This means fam­i­lies might only reap en­ergy sav­ings for two years in some cases be­fore the en­tire sys­tem needs re­plac­ing.

Ms Bere­jik­lian said the scheme would help make so­lar en­ergy more ac­ces­si­ble for fam­i­lies.

“This is a great way to re­duce your bills, con­trib­ute to the grid and feel like you are do­ing some­thing sus­tain­able,” she said.

“We’ve been work­ing hard to ease cost-of-liv­ing pres­sures for fam­i­lies and this is a ma­jor ini­tia­tive that house­holds can use to help re­duce their power bills. The great thing about our scheme is it’s not a bur­den to the tax­payer but it saves our tax­pay­ers hun­dreds if not thou­sands of dol­lars on their bills if they choose to take it up.”

Ms Bere­jik­lian an­nounced the pol­icy one day af­ter Op­po­si­tion Leader Micheal Da­ley re­vealed plans to put so­lar pan­els on one mil­lion homes over the next decade.

Un­der La­bor’s plan, home­own­ers would be el­i­gi­ble for a $2200 re­bate to in­stall so­lar pan­els.

Both par­ties are lim­it­ing their of­fers to owner-oc­cu­pied house­holds with an an­nual com­bined in­come of less than $180,000.

La­bor’s shadow en­ergy min­is­ter Adam Searle said his party’s plan meant that no home­owner needed to pay back a loan.

“You can al­ready get noin­t­er­est loans and no up­front pay­ments from so­lar com­pa­nies so the gov­ern­ment is of­fer­ing noth­ing new,” he said.

“Un­der their pack­age peo­ple need to pay back 100 per cent of the costs and un­der our pack­age eli- gible house­holds are as­sisted to put so­lar on their roofs.” Yes­ter­day, Trea­surer Do­minic Per­rot­tet said the gov­ern­ment’s scheme was “more sus­tain­able and more achiev­able” than La­bor’s, call­ing theirs “a typ­i­cal La­bor pol­icy with no bat­ter­ies in­cluded”. “You can­not trust La­bor when it comes to rolling out a scheme like the one they an­nounced yes­ter­day,” he said. En­ergy Min­is­ter Don Har­win said the scheme would give house­holds ac­cess to top tech­nol­ogy with a key em­pha­sis on bat­ter­ies. “When the sun’s go­ing down, rooftop so­lar’s not gen­er­at­ing, we have the equiv­a­lent of a power sta­tion sup­ply­ing re­li­able … power through bat­ter­ies,” he said.

Gladys Bere­jik­lian an­nounc­ing the so­lar loan scheme yes­ter­day.

NEW 10-YEAR EM­POW­ER­ING HOMES PRO­GRAMGives up to 300,000 house­holds in­ter­est-free loans to in­stall so­lar en­ergy and bat­tery stor­age sys­temsLoans of up to $9000 per bat­tery sys­tem and up to $14,000 per so­lar-bat­tery sys­tem will be avail­ableA fam­ily with a $2000 an­nual en­ergy bill would save up to $285 off that bill while also pay­ing off the loan at a rate of $145 a month■The $14,000 loan would take eight years to pay off at that rate and the bat­ter­ies may need re­plac­ing af­ter 10-15 years■$180,000 house­hold in­come limit

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