South Australian Premier Pledges Interest Free Solar + Battery System Loans

Interest-free solar loans in South Australia

Image: ulleo

Yet another renewable energy related election commitment – this time Premier Jay Weatherill has announced a $100 million no-interest loans scheme to assist households in the purchase of solar power and/or battery systems if Labor is returned to office in SA.

While full details are yet to be provided, loans of up to $10,000 will be made available interest-free for the first seven years. A preference will be given to locally made products, which will no doubt put a smile on Tindo Solar’s dial.

UPDATE:  Germany’s sonnen wants a big piece of the energy storage action in SA. Sonnen will move its Australian headquarters from Sydney to Adelaide and will assemble 50,000 household batteries in Adelaide over the next five years.

“More renewable energy means cheaper power for all South Australians,” said Premier Weatherill. “Labor stands up for all South Australians and through this $100 million scheme we’ll help more South Australian households make the transition to renewable energy and lower their energy bills.”

$10,000 buys a lot of solar power (a 5kW solar system costs far less these days); but not much in the way of solar + battery storage. The bucks may be better spent on the former and the loan could be paid back faster, enabling households to reap the full financial benefits of solar – and more rapidly.

For those wanting to retrofit a battery on an existing solar power system, they may still find themselves having to dig into some of their savings depending on the battery chosen. For indicative pricing on energy storage, check out SQ’s solar battery comparison page.

As for when this scheme will kick in isn’t clear – so South Australians holding out on going solar now may be in for a bit of a wait, could be put off by final terms and conditions and have no guarantee they’ll get the loan- and in the meantime miss out on big electricity bill savings.

Virtual Power Plant Program Popular

Another initiative, one that will see up to 50,000 solar power + Tesla Powerwall battery systems installed throughout the state, has proven popular. More than 33,000 South Australians have registered their interest since it was announced earlier this month.

In the Virtual Power Plant initiative, participants will purchase electricity at a discounted rate rather than own the systems on their rooftops (initially anyway). The program may not appeal to those opposed to any arrangement that even vaguely resembles a lease and/or those who want full control of what goes on their rooftop – and who installs it.

“As with the Virtual Power Plant and other renewables projects we’ve supported through our energy plan, these systems will also reduce peak demand on the grid, which lowers prices for all South Australians,” stated Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis.

Mr. Koutsantonis said the schemes would help the state meet its proposed new 75 per cent Renewable Energy Target and 25 per cent Energy Storage Target, announced yesterday.

A Cranky Steven Marshall

SA Liberals leader Steven Marshall said Labor was just taking a leaf out of his book with the no-interest loans scheme.

“Labor’s $500 million energy plan was not going to lower prices so they’ve started adopting parts of the @marshall_steven energy plan,” he tweeted.

That plan, formally known as the Liberal Energy Solution (PDF), also includes abolishing the state’s Renewable Energy Target.

Nick X Reveals Power Plan – Sort Of

Now refreshed after his all-singing, all-dancing campaign ad video shoot, it seems SA-BEST leader Nick Xenophon has announced his plan for cutting energy costs, which involves establishing a new not-for-profit retailer that could reportedly cut bills by 20 per cent. However, nothing has been published on the SA-BEST web site at the time of writing.

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.


  1. Again the poor taxpayer has to pay for the cost of the political stuff up which started with the selling of ETSA.

  2. If only the table on the “SQ’s solar battery comparison page” would be universally accessible…

    I think the “loans of up to $10,000 will be made available interest-free for the first seven years” would be better if it would be “loans of up to $20,000 will be made available interest-free for the first ten years”, to really provide for battery storage with PV systems – a nominal “5kW” rooftop PV single phase system (which allows for up to 6.65kW of panels capacity), with automated backup switching, with a battery storage capacity up to the 13.5kW capacity of a Tesla Powerwall 2, or the 9.9 (?) kWh usable capacity of an LG RESU 10H system , or, the expanded 16kWh capacity of the sonnenBatterie (especially, given that they are to be produced in South Australia), would be better covered (depending on the pricing of the last option that I mentioned), by a $20,000 interest-free loan.

    And, whilst it may be said that increasing the magnitude of the interest-free loans, from $10,000 to $20,000, would be a substantial burden for the South Australian state government, surely, it would be an appropriate use for the federal CEFC (is it true that the feral government intends to use the CEFC to finance the Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland?), would it not?

    But, anyway, the South Australian state government is racing ahead in leaps and bounds, making us wonder why the other state and territory governments don’t untie their shoelaces from tying their shoes together, and, lace their shoes separately, and, join the race to be 100% powered by clean energy.

    And, the feral government should simply undergo euthenasia, and let someone competent, cohesive, and, rational, replace its members.

    After all, the Australian feral government is now the biggest joke in the world, having now displaced Donald Chump.

    Do I hear any bids for an Australian federal Double Dissolution election? Anyone?

  3. If only the SA Govt actually had money in the bank to loan people interest free. It doesn’t it will go down the route of borrowing it (debt) to hand out to help it try to retain power. The SA taxpayer will have to pay the prinicipal and interest on this debt, no none else.
    It is unfortunate that people cannot see past the first use of such payments. IE, when the loan has to be repaid, taxes will be taken from South Australian residents pockets to pay for it. What is the cost to the South Australian economy of all that forgone money which now must be paid to the government as forced taxation instead of being used in the productive consumer driven economy.
    The Federal Government may not be handing out money hand over fist to to SA residents, that does not make them incompetent. Likewise an increase from the SA Government in its handout from $10 000 to $20 000 will not increase the burden on the SA government at all. It will only increase the burden on the SA taxpayer.
    There is no such thing as government money. There is only taxpayer money taken from a taxpayer and handed out in the form of bribes, boondoggles and so forth.
    Any form of government interference in any free market economy will only make the situation worse – guaranteed.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      I too hate how the government stops me selling heroin to schoolchildren. But one day our markets will be free. In fact, I’m going to play Fallout right now to prepare for that eventuality.

  4. Frank Cellini says

    Is it about 2 million households now have solar… governments should offer no or low interest loans for people to buy battery systems. People could pay of loans with the money they save with lower energy prices. Storage could be spread across the network and there would be guaranteed power available virtually all the time. People could buy and sell energy to each other at reasonable prices. Energy problem could be solved very quickly. We could eliminate central authorise and become independent… always a good thing. NSW government is spending $2-2.5 billion tax payers money on sports stadiums!!! We are all doomed!

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