Power struggles over solar policy
Lib battery loan scheme versus ALP rebate
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