QLD Government To Offer No-Interest Loans For Solar And Storage

Interest-free loans for solar and batteries in Queensland

Image: Stocksnap

Under the Palaszczuk Government’s $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan, Queenslanders unable to access upfront capital will be able to apply for a no-interest loan for solar panels and battery storage.

The scheme will kick off in March next year.

“Solar panels and batteries are a great way for households and small businesses to cut their electricity bills, but for some the upfront cost can be a challenge,” said Treasurer Curtis Pitt. “It will also help in supporting to kick start the growth of the battery industry in Queensland.”

The State Government also announced yesterday it would be commencing a trial program involving landlords and renters sharing the savings from solar power, through providing incentives to landlords to install solar panels and passing savings onto tenants. According to Energy Minister Mark Bailey, the scheme could see tenants saving up to 10 per cent on their annual electricity bill, while landlords would receive a rebate of up to $520 each year.

“This trial will embrace the falling costs of solar technology and offer clean energy to renters – which has been an inaccessible market segment,” said Mr. Bailey.

The Queensland Government has set a target of one million solar rooftops or 3,000 megawatts of solar photovoltaics capacity by 2020. According to Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator, at least 523,710 small-scale solar power systems had been installed throughout the state by the beginning of September.

Playing Hardball With Electricity Retailers

The Queensland Government met with representatives from 14 electricity retailers yesterday to deliver an ultimatum – sign onto the Government’s Affordable Energy Pledge.

Premier Palaszczuk said re-establishing a publicly owned electricity retailer that would undercut other retailers remained on the table if retailers do not sign up. A deadline of close of business on Friday has been set.

“That pledge commits retailers to pass on the savings from government intervention that have been identified through the ACIL Allen report, as well as passing on in full the $50 asset ownership saving off household customer bills over each of the next two years,” stated the Premier

The ACIL Allen report, which does not include the impact of announcements under the Affordable Energy Plan, details the effect of recent government actions on electricity bills. It estimates these actions could save a typical household $210 in 2018/19.

The Queensland Competition Authority has been tasked with monitoring electricity retailers’ pricing on a quarterly basis to ensure these savings are passed on.

Three retailers have already signed on for the Affordable Energy Pledge – QEnergy, Alinta and Origin.

Other initiatives under the Affordable Energy Plan include rebates of up to $300 from January 1, 2018 on the purchase of an of energy efficient fridge, washing machine or air conditioner. Annual electricity bill discounts of $75 for households and $120 for small businesses will also be provided for regional Ergon customers that switch to monthly billing options. An additional 4,000 regional households will also save up to $200 through an expanded Energy Savvy program.

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.

Comments

  1. If WA was not bankrupted by the federal government, it would be good if WA followed suit.

  2. Are these loans available yet? How do I apply? I’m about to install a solar panel system and the installer uses Classic Funding Group for financing – when I looked them up online, lots of red flags go up. So I’m looking for an alternative to finance my solar.

  3. ET –

    1. Contact your local (or closest) state government MP, and put the question to them, as to when you can apply, and when the funds will be available.

    2. If you look at the Certegy and Brighte web sites, you will see that they offer interest free finance for installing ddomestic rooftop photovoltaic systems. Whilst it is said that they impose transaction chrages, to makle up for not charging interest, many (including utility) companies now charge as many transaction fees as possible – statement fees, fees for making payments, fees formaking payments particular ways, fees for telling you they are charging you fees, etcetera, etcetera, cetcetera.

    3. Write to your local member of the feral parliament lower house, and, to each of your state senators, and ask them why the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is not being used to provide interest-free finance to householders who want to install domestic rooftop photovoltaic systems with storage batteries, to provide and use clean energy, and to stabilise the electricity grids (where household battery storage is used in conjunction with rooftop PV systems, it can help stabilise electricity grids).

  4. Ronald Brakels says

    Bret Busby requested I post the following comment from him:

    ET – and everyone else who reads this before 13 March 2018 –
    Go to the web page at
    https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/CarbonCaptureBill
    and make a submission, and send a copy of the submission to the
    contact email address for the committee, and to every member of the
    feral parliament, who is either directly involved in, or otherwise
    associated with, the committee.

    In the submission, put the question;

    “What is the real, truthful, purpose of the Clean Energy Finance
    Corporation, and, why is the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not, in
    consideration of is name, being used to provide interest-free finance
    to householders who want to install domestic rooftop photovoltaic
    systems with storage batteries, to provide and use clean energy, and
    to stabilise the electricity grids (where household battery storage is
    used in conjunction with rooftop PV systems, it can help stabilise
    electricity grids)?”

    • I note that there has only been 1 submission made (and it wasn’t from Bret).

    • As best as I can tell this is about allowing the CEFC to spend money on carbon capture and storage. While this kind of technology may be necessary because we (mankind) have probably gone too far already, I am worried that it could take the pressure off solving the real problem which is we use too much fossil fuels.

  5. Liz Thornton says

    We are about to purchase a larger solar panel system as the 14 older panels are now extinct and an aerial fell on one and broke it .
    If we do get a better system we will want to look at batteries as well but prefer to wait for more environmentally friendly types which are in the offing I believe?
    Also,our daughter rents our house as she is single mum and we are in a granny flat ! Can we put the panels on her roof through a scheme which allows her to get the benefits?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Liz

      Batteries won’t save you money at the moment, but hopefully they will before too long. If you are looking for more environmentally friendly energy storage, the good news is that super capacitor storage systems should be about to come onto the market and they have very high round trip efficiency.

      The benefits of your panels will go to whoever is paying the electricity bill. If you put the electricity bill in your daughter’s name she will receive the benefits.

  6. Chris Bourne says

    It looks like there is some more information now. It will be pretty heavily restricted:

    * be a homeowner
    * receive Family Tax Benefit Part B, and
    * have electricity costs at your home of more than $1,000 over the past six (6) months.

    I don’t make it over those last two hurdles, so I guess I’ll be paying for my system. Luckily the payback period is pretty attractive!

  7. Allison Woodside says

    We use a generator for our power.We are 145km from the closest power line. Are we eligable for any grants or rebates? We spend 450 dollars a month on diesel to power our home but there seems to be no help for us to get solar .We just add more to the carbon problem.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Allison

      I am afraid you won’t be eligible for a zero interest lone as it will be necessary to show that your spent $1,000 or more over the past 6 months on electricity or $2,000 over 12. Spending $5,400 a year on diesel may not be considered acceptable, although I suppose you could try to apply and see what happens. You will be able to get STCs that that lower the cost of solar for households. This is often referred to as the “solar rebate”. Off-grid solar and battery systems are not cheap but they are much more cost effective than relying on diesel generation. The lowest cost option will probably be a fairly large solar array with a fairly small amount of battery storage. This will mean you will often still need to run a generator at night. But if you think it is worth the extra expense you can spend the extra money for more battery storage and spend most nights without needing a generator. Either way your diesel consumption will be greatly reduced.

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