NSW government and RateSetter collab to offer zero interest green loans

By Katherine O'Chee ·

It’s no secret power prices in Australia have been surging for some years now, but for households who’ve been struggling to keep up with high energy bills, there’s good news on the horizon. 

The NSW Government has just launched an Empowering Homes program aimed at helping Aussies install solar batteries inside their homes - and it’s a move that could give more households the financial means to switch to solar and lower their energy bills

Funded by the government-owned Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the program will give eligible households access to interest-free personal loans with peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter - up to $14,000 for a new solar battery system, or up to $9,000 for the addition of a battery to an existing solar system. 

According to RateSetter CEO, Daniel Foggo, the program will make going green a cheaper option for homeowners. 

“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. 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,” Foggo said. 

Government estimates show that by joining the program, households using more than 6,000kWh of electricity a year could save over $250 annually while paying off their loan. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Aussies are keener on installing solar panels, but how are they paying for them? 

Hunter region pilot

The program will first run as a pilot for up to 12 months in the Hunter region, before rolling out statewide for up to 300,000 NSW homeowners. 

So who’s eligible? Right now, the offer is available to households earning up to $180,000 a year and with a postcode in Cessnock, Dungog, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Mid-Coast, Muswellbrook, Port Stephens, Singleton or Upper Hunter. 

“Eligible Hunter residents will have an early opportunity to unlock the saving and sustainability benefits offered by solar battery systems by taking out a loan to purchase them interest-free,” NSW Minister for Energy, Matthew Kean said. 

What if I’m not eligible for the Empowering Homes program? 

If you don’t live in the Hunter region and want to purchase solar or battery storage in the next 12 months, there are other funding options available such as green personal loans

“Green personal loans are designed to help borrowers make eco-friendly purchases like solar batteries and electric cars,” Mozo Director and Money Expert, Kirsty Lamont said. 

“And there’s lots to love about these loans. For one, they generally come with lower interest rates, which could potentially mean hundreds of dollars saved over the life of your loan - so not only are they good for the environment, but they’re also kinder to your wallet!” 

According to the Mozo database, the average headline interest rate for a green personal loan is 7.43% p.a, whereas the the average unsecured personal loan rate is 10.92% p.a.. 

Ready to switch to solar and save? Then make your first stop our personal loan comparison table or if you want to learn more about battery storage, check out our home battery storage guide! 

Compare personal loans - last updated November 29, 2020

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Katherine O'Chee
Money writer

Katherine O’Chee is Mozo’s international money transfer and forex expert and business banking writer. She keeps Mozo’s readers on top of the latest news and writes in-depth features to inform and help Australians make smarter financial decisions. Her work has been published in major media outlets including Sydney Morning Herald, SBS News and Bangkok Post. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) from the University of Sydney.