The NSW Government has launched the Empowering Homes program, where homeowners in the Hunter region will be able to access interest-free loans for home battery systems as part of the program’s pilot. The program will run as a pilot for up to 12 months and will then be rolled out statewide to include to up to 300,000 NSW homeowners.
Announced in the lead-up to the state election last year, the Empowering Homes Program promises interest-free loans of up to $9,000 for a battery system or up to $14,000 for a solar and battery systems to households with a combined income of up to $180,000. The program’s goal is to unlock around $3.2 billion in clean energy investment and save hundreds of dollars on customers’ power bills.
“This is about unlocking the saving and sustainability benefits offered by solar-battery systems,” Environment Minister Matt Kean said on Friday. “For households that use more than 6000kWh of electricity a year, installing a solar and battery system can help reduce their annual electricity bill by putting more than $250 a year back into your pocket.” Once the loan has been paid off, this saving could increase to over $2,000.
Under the pilot program, the offer is available to household owners who live in eligible postcodes in the areas of Cessnock, Dungog, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Mid-Coast, Muswellbrook, Port Stephens, Singleton, and Upper Hunter. Homeowners are encouraged to check the Energy Saver website to see if their postcode is eligible and for details on how to apply.
Similarly to South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will provide finance for the Empowering Homes pilot, which will be administered by delivery partner RateSetter. Based on another funding deal with the CEFC, the peer-to-peer lender was named the exclusive administrator of the SA government’s battery scheme and tasked to offer $100 million in loans in cases when the upfront costs of the home battery system installations are not met by the SA government subsidies.
According to RateSetter CEO Daniel Foggo, the company has administered over 4,000 solar battery subsidies in South Australia and is bringing that expertise to the delivery of the “outstanding program” in NSW. “Since the outset of our renewable energy lending business, we have observed increased consumer demand for solar power. However, consumers often balk at the upfront costs,” said Foggo. “This program goes a long way to remove financial barriers associated with renewable energy and to empower homeowners to save more on their electricity bills.”
Just as with other state battery subsidy schemes, the NSW Empowering Homes program aims to harness the power of distributed energy resources and orchestrate them into networks that can buttress the grid. “Virtual power plant technologies will give us an opportunity to do just that,” Kean said earlier. “I want to see them rolled out across the state.”
Homeowners across New South Wales can register their interest in the broader program, which will be rolled out across the state after the pilot is complete, here: Empowering Homes solar battery loan offer