Solar power loans

by David Shearman, Anne Paizs, Monica Oliphant 20 May 2002

From David Shearman
With the health aspects of climate change as one of the priorities of DEA, we have received a number of letters about solar power systems for the home. As an example, I send you, below, a copy of a letter from Anne Paizs, from Tasmania. She refers to a lack of interest from banks. I have found out that the Bendigo Bank provides a Green Personal Loan for solar power and for other developments in the home that have an environmental impact. For further information contact: Owen Davies, Bendigo Bank, Phone (03)54339866

From Anne Paizs
I am currently in the process of setting up a complete solar power system on my property. The cost is $20,000 but there is a Commonwealth government grant of $7,000. This leaves a balance of $13,000 for which I am initially out of pocket. With the saving on electricity bills, the system should slowly pay for itself over about 13 years. I will have 18 solar panels on the roof of a solid north-facing shed and will be connected to the electricity grid. This will provide all my power needs and feed the excess power into the grid . Feeding into the grid means I should receive a regular cheque from the electricity company paying for the power they take from me. I think that many more people would install solar panels if it wasn't for the initial cost. Many people just cannot afford $13,000 up front. I have written to a few banks suggesting they become environmentally-minded and offer people "solar power loans" , like they offer "car loans" and "home loans" so that people could purchase a system and pay it off gradually. Paying a system off gradually should not be too difficult when one takes into account the saving on electricity bills ( which could amount to $1000 plus per year). So far no bank has been interested.

Monica Oliphant, our expert on solar energy in SA has provided the following comment on Anne's letter and a series of web sites for you to look at before proceeding with the installation of solar power.

Re Anne Paizs letter. Everything she says is correct and information about the grants can be found on the AGO website and also on the various state websites - I did not list all of them. However, the payback she mentions is not great for people connected to the electricity grid. A system like Anne has, would in SA, save her $300 - $360/yr, so the pay back time on $13 000 would take a long time. Nevertheless we do lots of things that do not have a payback.

Energy SA - www.energy.sa.gov.au
Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) - www.greenhouse.gov.au
Sustainable Energy Development Authority - NSW - www.seda.nsw.gov.au and www.energysmart.com.au
Sustainable Energy Authority- Victoria - www.seav.vic.gov.au
NZ - Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority - www.energywise.co.nz
Sacremento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) USA - www.smud.com
Australia and NZ Solar Energy Society - www.anzses.org
The International Solar Energy Society - www.ises.org