CEFC to provide $90 million for new-home solar+storage program

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New home builders in Australia are increasingly embracing solar+storage. A new initiative will see the CEFC provide up to $90 million in debt finance to builder Mirvac to install solar and battery storage to new three and four bedroom homes.

Mirvac plans to build more than 300 clean energy homes, as a part of what it describes as ‘masterplanned residential communities’.

Alongside the solar+storage systems, Mirvac will incorporate insulation, LED lighting and energy efficient appliances in the homes. The plan is for the homes to be 90% self-sufficient for their energy needs.

“The CEFC’s finance will mean this clean energy technology is already included in the homes during construction, at no additional cost to the home buyer,” said CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth in a statement. “This will deliver significant and ongoing long-term benefits to families and residents.”

The $90 million in loans is being provided by the CEFC as a part of its Sustainable Cities Investment Program. The CEFC is also working on projects in the commercial and industrial space, including projects relating to commercial office space, health and medical facilities, shopping centres, and community housing.

Alongside the financing, the CEFC will work with Mirvac to monitor energy usage in the homes and share the insights resulting from the program, said Chris Wade from CEFC’s property sector. He indicated that the program is the beginning on an “ongoing relationship with Mirvac”.

The new partnership with Mirvac will build on growing momentum in the Australian building sector, where residential solar+storage is being offered to new home buyers.

The residential rooftop market solar market segment has been predominately a retrofit market in recent years. With new builds increasingly adopting solar+storage additional momentum will be added to the distributed PV market.

The CEFC notes that even though the rooftop solar market in Australia is currently experiencing rapid growth, only 18% of Australian homes have rooftop solar and 0.1% battery storage.

Mirvac launched its ‘House with no Bills’ pilot program this year in Melbourne. The pilot involved equipping one home with the range of sustainable technologies included in its program with the CEFC. Mirvac is partnering with Evergen, Schneider Electric, and Fujitsu, alongside other technology and appliance providers, in the program.

Construction of the first homes under the CEFC partnership will begin in 2018, with the first ready for sale in 2019.