CommBank Expands Low-Interest Green Loan Facility

Commbank Green Loan

More Commonwealth Bank home loan customers wanting to go solar but without the up-front cash to do are now eligible for the bank’s Green Loan.

The CommBank Green Loan kicked off under a pilot program earlier this year, and is now available to up to 600,000 of the bank’s home loan customers across Australia.

The initiative enables eligible customers to purchase and install up to $20,000 worth clean energy products – including solar systems – under a 0.99% p.a. secured fixed rate loan over 10 years. There’s no establishment fee, monthly loan service fee or early repayment fees.

Among the eligibility criteria, there must be an existing home loan balance of $150,000 or more; not including any available redraw balance. You’ll also need enough cash on hand where a deposit on a system is required, but this will be reimbursed.

The items that can be financed by the loan:

  • 6kW+ of solar panels – plus inverter where required (which of course will be in most cases).
  • 5kWh or larger home battery systems
  • Solar hot water system (minimum capacity of 250 litres)
  • Heat pump hot water system (minimum capacity of 250 litres)
  • Electric vehicle charging station/s.

In some situations a 6kW PV system may not qualify if the cost of the solar system is less than $5,000, which is the minimum loan amount. But going bigger is a good idea assuming you have the roof space – and taking advantage of cheap finance to do so.

Another eligibility requirement is solar panels and battery systems must be installed “by a retailer and/or installer approved by the Clean Energy Council”. In other words, systems need to come from a CEC Approved Solar Retailer (ASR) – and there is a difference between an accredited installer and an ASR.

Commonwealth Bank Group Executive Angus Sullivan said given CommBank’s presence in the Australian home loan sector, it has a responsibility to provide solutions for customers that reduce their environmental impact.

“..and the Green Loan is an important step towards helping our customers and communities move to cheaper, clean energy technologies,” stated Mr. Sullivan.

You can learn more about the CommBank Green Loan here and pick up some general advice on financing a solar power system here.

Commonwealth Bank And Amber

Mr. Sullivan also mentioned a partnership CommBank established in May with Amber, an electricity retailer that gives customers access to wholesale energy prices for a monthly fee. As wholesale electricity prices are cheaper when renewables are generating, this can mean saving on energy bills.

It also means customers could be paying more when they aren’t or when unexpected events occur, such as coal power plants crapping themselves. But there are some safeguards in place including a guarantee customers will never pay more than the Government’s Default Market Offer over a 12 month period. However, the DMO is still significantly higher than what you could otherwise be paying as it’s not designed to be a competitive price. In other words, do your research.

SQ’s Ronald has reviewed Amber Electric, but bear in mind the review is now three years old, so the figures and perhaps some other aspects may be out of date – but it’s still worth reading for some general information.

Another useful resource if you’re hunting for a new energy company is SolarQuotes’ electricity retailer plan comparison tool, which is geared to solar owners.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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