Low-interest ‘green loans’ are (finally) here to give your home an eco-friendly facelift 

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
5 Min Read

The federal government is helping millions of Aussies ‘switch on’ aging properties with the rollout of long-awaited low-interest green loans.

Officials announced last week that the government, through ‘green bank’ Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), would be unlocking $60 million dollars to help more Aussies retrofit their homes with popular energy efficiency upgrades like rooftop solar, home batteries and insulation. 

Accessed through lender Plenti, this low-interest “green loan” promises serious savings. The organisation says this first round of funding will afford customers a hefty 2.74 per cent discount each year on their loan, with eligible customers able to get a further 0.6 per cent by signing up to a virtual power plant plan.

This means that, on a loan balance of $25,000, for example, a household could save up to $3,531 in interest over seven years, compared with the Plenti standard green loan rate.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen claims the latest investment will unlock savings for thousands of households.

“These loans will let more Australians put solar panels on their roof or a battery at their back door, providing big savings on their energy bills for decades to come,” Minister Bowen said.

“The Albanese Government is putting the power back in the hands of households, to give Australians more opportunities to benefit from the energy transition and ease cost-of-living pressures.”

Rewiring Australia Executive Director Dan Cass said the green loans will help more Aussies reap the rewards of the “world’s cheapest energy”. 

“One third of households already have solar and these loans will help others to reap the benefits of self-generated electricity costing only five cents per kilowatt hour, the world’s cheapest energy,” he told Build-it.

“Household electrification is the fastest and most cost effective way to reduce emissions and ease the cost-of-living by bringing down power bills for good.”

According to the recent ‘Race for 2030′ analysis, even a basic retrofit can save households between 18 and 31 per cent on their power bill, and a comprehensive retrofit could save up to $1600.

The government expects the scheme to help more than 110,000 Australian households lower their energy bills.

Better late than never 

While the retrofitting fund is undoubtedly welcome news to homeowner’s ears, the announcement came only days after energy department officials came under fire over the slow progress of the Household Energy Upgrade Fund (HEUF)

Originally conceived in 2023 with the purpose of ‘fast-tracking’ improvements to the country’s notoriously energy inefficient housing stock, the snail-like pace of the HEUF investment means the Aussies who need it most missed the boat on the peak summer solar season. 

“People around this table can afford to have solar, potentially a battery, induction cook stove, drive an EV and you’re basically not paying anything for energy,” independent Senator David Pocock told a Senate Estimates budget hearing last week.

“People who can’t afford that are getting absolutely slammed for energy bills and paying international prices for our gas.

“I’d love to see urgency around helping households with the transition, because people want to do it.”

But with the winter cold snap looming large over aging Aussie properties, Climate Change Minister Jenny McAllister says the loans will be vital to helping millions of Aussies slash power bills. 

“More than 7 million homes were built before national codes included energy performance standards. Just upgrading a house from a 1-star rating to a 3-star rating can reduce energy bills by 30 per cent, and the Fund will help more than 110,000 households access lower cost green loans to do just that,” said McAllister.

“Through this Fund there are now more opportunities for families to install solar panels, batteries and other energy efficient devices, to make homes warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer and cheaper to run.”

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.