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What ACT’s Sustainable Household Scheme Means For You

 

For those Aussies living in the ACT and thinking about making the switch to solar; we’ve got great news for you! The Australian Capital Territory Government this week announced Brighte as its finance partner for the Sustainable Household Scheme.

What is the Sustainable Household Scheme?

The ACT’s Sustainable Household Scheme was help to provide Aussies with no-interest loans for renewable energy projects. The loan can be as small as $2,000 and up to $15,000 for eligible households in the Territory. The scheme will help with the upfront costs associated with investing in energy-efficient home upgrades. There is currently a pilot for the scheme happening; helping to improve any shortfalls before it goes live over the next few weeks. Additionally, the idea behind the scheme was that it would help to limit contributions to global warming; improving the quality of life of those living in the Territory at the same time. So, let’s take a look at the different products that are available under the scheme.

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
  • Rooftop solar panels (Category A)
  • Home battery storage systems (Category A)
  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure (Category A)
  • Electric stove tops (Category B)
  • Hot water heat pumps (Category B)
  • Electric heating and cooling systems (Category B)
  • Electric vehicles (Category C)

Additionally, you’ll be able to use the loan to cover your installation costs too.

What is Brighte?

As mentioned earlier, Brighte is the finance partner for the Sustainable Household Scheme in the ACT. The company was founded in 2015 and is working to help offer Aussie families access to a number of renewable energy solutions through finance. The company is on a mission to play their part in making every Aussie home a green one; priding itself on good practice, protecting the interest of its customers and helping give every Australian access to renewable energy solutions. So, it’s not really a surprise that the ACT Government has decided to partner with Brighte; especially with the drive behind the scheme being closely aligned with the missions of the company.

Am I Eligible for the Interest-Free Loan?

There are a few eligibility criteria that you should be aware of if you’re thinking about applying for this loan. Out of the 3 categories listed above, solar panels and home batteries sit within Categories A and B. So, check out the criteria for these products below.

If you’re keen on an interest-free loan as part of the scheme, the property will need to be:

  • A standalone residence or unit (as long as the unit has been defined as a distinct property in the unit plan);

  • Geographically located in the ACT (this includes Hall, Tharwa and Oaks Estate, but does not include Jervis Bay Territory);

  • Valued (based on unimproved value) at below $750,000 for both standalone homes or units; and

  • Is owned by the participant of the scheme (including those with a mortgaged home) or where the scheme participant has full authority and the appropriate approvals to install the products.

You can check out the more detailed eligibility criteria and scheme guidelines by clicking here.

What Now?

Well, there are a few more questions you might have if you’re thinking about jumping on board the scheme. So, check out the extra clarification points below and if you have any other questions, find us on social media!

  • If you succeed in your application for the loan, you’ll be able to start repaying once your product has been installed (or purchased if it’s an electric vehicle) or once your installer sends off the invoice.

  • You won’t pay any upfront costs if you’re approved for a loan under the scheme. This means you can start saving on your electricity bill without sacrificing a large upfront payment for a solar power system!

  • Depending on the credit check that gets done as part of the application, you might be able to borrow more than the $15,000 limit. However, there may be interest associated to doing this!

So, if you live in the Australian Capital Territory and you’re keen on getting solar, make sure you get 3 quotes from installers in your area with our free service!

 

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.
 

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