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Empowering Homes Program

What is Empowering Homes Program?

The New South Wales government has introduced this program to support households across eligible postcodes access incentives in the form of interest-free loans to install solar battery systems. Currently, the program is not available for solar-only purchases. However, it is really lucrative for homeowners looking to install a solar battery option.

The program was launched in the first quarter of 2020. The Empowering Homes Program assists these households in shifting to a cleaner and greener energy source and assisting them in reducing their grid dependency.

Details of Empowering Homes Package

The current program is available to eligible households that are installing either just a battery (to add to an existing system) or a battery with a solar system.

There are currently two options available for these eligible households:

  • Loan of up to $14,000 for installing a solar photovoltaic plus battery system. The repayment can be made over a period of up to eight years.
  • Loan of up to $9,000 for installing a battery to an existing solar PV system. The repayment can be made over a period of up to ten years.

The price of the system can be higher than the loan amount, but the customer will either have to pay the difference upfront or take out an additional loan at a market interest rate. Currently, this program is not available to businesses.

Are you eligible for the Empowering Homes program?

The eligibility criteria for the empowering homes program are as per below:

  • You must live in an eligible postcode as listed below
  • You must have a combined pre-tax household income less than or equal to $180,000
  • You must own the house that you wish to install the system on. The house should be suitable for a solar system and must have the full authority and approvals to install the same. Mortgaged homes are also eligible.
  • You must meet the standard credit criteria inclusive of good credit history for the loan approval

The solar battery system is considered as a significant investment, and please note that your household would benefit significantly if:

  • You utilise a higher amount of electricity than an average of 6,000 kWh per year
  • Your energy consumption is mostly in the mornings and evenings
  • You are on a time-of-use tariff plan or planning to switch to one
  • You already benefit from other energy-saving techniques or products

Claiming process of Empowering Homes program

The application process for Empowering Homes is as follows:

  • Contact one of the several approved suppliers to discuss your various needs and arrange for an inspection. 
  • Obtain a couple of different quotes for comparison and ensure the supplier understands your needs and designs a system that can maximise your cost benefits. The suppliers will also provide you with a Quote Record Number which you will require to initiate your loan application.
  • Select the quote that is best suited for you and enter the Quote Record Number in the Empowering Homes portal. Alternatively, you can select the link from the email you receive along with the Quote Record Number.
  • Once you have started the application, you will be requested to confirm your eligibility and complete the loan application. Ensure to provide all the documents and evidence to support your total annual household income. The loan applications are evaluated by Plenti, and you will be notified once your application is approved.
  • Upon your application approval, you can proceed to contact the supplier to organise the installation.

The program delivery partner, Plenti, also provides assistance in seeking a top-up loan if your system price is higher than the standards loan amounts ($14,000 for solar battery and $9,000 for battery only).

Conclusion

The program is currently in its pilot phase and will be available across New South Wales upon its successful trial to assist eligible households in shifting to a greener energy source. It also gives homeowners the chance to sign up for virtual power plants (VPP) and avail better rates for selling energy back into the grid during peak hours.

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