The Australian government has been urged to “look to the future” when setting the parameters for an A$1 billion ($670 million) funding package to provide low-cost financing for people to improve the energy efficiency of their homes with products such as solar. panels.
More than 110,000 Australian households could soon receive A$1 billion in low-interest loans to help make energy-efficient improvements to their homes as part of a new budget initiative, but trade association Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has appealed to the federal government. the government must take a “holistic approach” when determining loan terms.
The A$1.3 billion Household Energy Improvement Fund, announced as part of the 2023-2034 federal budget, offers households the opportunity to access discounted funding to increase sustainability across the housing sector, including by investing in energy efficiency improvements, efficient appliances and batteries. -ready PV.
The fund includes A$1 billion in discounted loans to help households install solar panels, replace gas heating systems and furnaces with electric options, glass windows and implement other energy efficiency measures. It will also provide A$300 million to improve the energy efficiency of social housing. It is funded and planned together with the states and territories.
MEA chief executive Malcolm Richards said that while solar panels and efficient electric hot water systems were worthy of support, new technologies were emerging that could offer greater benefits to households and the nation.
Richards called on the government to consider supporting households to invest in two-way electric vehicle (EV) charging points, which would allow people to draw electricity from car batteries during peak times and charge them when electricity demand is low.
“Many areas of Australia already have negative solar demand during the hottest part of the day, meaning we’re generating more electricity than we can use,” he said. “Financing new solar panels only adds to this problem. We would like to see a holistic approach to this loan system that includes new technologies to maximize the benefits of green energy production.
Richards suggested that the terms of the Household Energy Upgrades Fund could be expanded to include battery energy storage solutions that help offset negative demand in the middle of the day, “by taking excess electricity and making it available during the evening peak… But there’s no reason to stick batteries in one place. Over the next decade, most Australians are expected to have at least one electric car in their homes. Why not use that built-in battery to power your home or office?”
Richards said by adopting “out-of-the-box thinking” with the Energy Upgrade Fund, the federal government can not only help households, but also earn dividends in the form of deferred spending in the budget for years to come.
While final details of the Household Energy Upgrades Fund have yet to be released, the A$1 billion scheme will be overseen by the Clean Energy Finance Corp. (CEFC), which will work with private lenders to implement the program. The system is expected to start next year.
The fund is part of a larger AUD$1.6 billion “energy savings plan” outlined in the budget. This includes A$314 million in tax credits for companies with a turnover of less than A$50 million that invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.