CEFC-Westpac scheme to help business adopt solar, battery storage, EVs

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CEFC teams with Westpac and energy services company Verdia to help Australian businesses with energy saving, electric vehicles.

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A new loan facility that will help Australian businesses invest in solar, battery storage, energy efficient technologies and electric vehicles has been launched by Westpac Bank in conjunction with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

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Using $200 million from the CEFC, the Westpac Energy Efficient Financing Program will offer finance leases, commercial loans and commercial hire purchase finance for qualifying renewable energy and energy efficient technologies, as well as low emissions vehicles, the bank said on Tuesday.

The program will provide customers from a range of sectors including education, health, aged care sectors, agribusiness, and state and local government with a 0.7 per cent per annum discount on finance for qualifying projects. The finance, which is for up to 100 per cent of the project cost, is available for terms of up to 10 years for individual projects starting at $15,000.

Eligible projects include: rooftop and off-grid solar PV; battery storage and solar thermal; installation of energy efficiency equipment; low emissions vehicles; energy efficiency retrofits or upgrades; and energy-from-waste.

Businesses opting to use the financing program will be guided on which technology to invest in by energy services company Verdia, which will also help businesses with designing an effective project, sourcing quality equipment and with ongoing asset management.

“Westpac is committed to helping make Australian businesses stronger and we recognise the opportunities that come with investment in energy efficiency, both in terms of lower costs for business and better environmental outcomes,” said the bank’s general manager of commercial services, Alastair Welsh.

“This is an end-to-end solution…supported by access to tailored discounted finance from Westpac. Westpac and Verdia will work with customers to design, deliver and finance everything from single-site to large, multi-site energy efficiency and distributed energy programs”, he said.

Verdia CEO Paul Peters said that while Australian businesses were keen to improve their efficiency and productivity, there remained a number of stumbling blocks that prevented them from implementing energy efficient and solar projects.

“These are usually lack of in-house resource to research and manage projects; difficulty in selecting the right supplier and equipment for their business; and the significant up-front capital investment required for new or upgraded equipment,” Peters said.

“The traditional electricity grid is evolving into a more flexible, distributed network. Ultimately, this will enable Australia to reduce carbon emissions and meet our climate change commitments.

“Verdia’s mission is to support the transition to cleaner, more sustainable energy sources, and to make that change happen sooner,” he said.

This is not the first time the CEFC has worked with Australian banks to offer business customers discounted loans to boost the uptake of energy saving technology. In 2014, it teamed with the Commonwealth Bank to deliver a funding mechanism designed to halve the energy costs of Victorian manufacturers. And to boost Australia’s renewable energy sector, it has teamed with the Commonwealth, NAB and Palisade Investments to provide up to $1 billion in equity and finance for large-scale renewables projects.

CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said the green bank hoped the new Westpac scheme would also encourage businesses to look carefully at their transport solutions and switch to lower emissions options for their fleets, in particular.

“Access to the discounted CEFC finance being offered through Westpac is a compelling reason to act now to lock in business and environmental benefits,” Yates said.

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3 Comments
  1. Caroline Kelly 3 years ago

    pffftt barely worth the paper its written on!! How about some real incentives instead tokenism… Buy an electric car in California and get the national tax credit upto $7500 plus upto $5000 rebate from the state… Real incentives that really work.

  2. Jo 3 years ago

    Lots of words but saying not much.
    A discount of 0,7 percent points on a loan does not say much. What is the interest rate of the loan?
    In the Australian most items like LEDs for energy saving or solar PV for power generation are not fully bankable. That means the loans are unsecured and expensive.

    Getting finance through a home loan and funding by a community energy association would be cheaper. There are also community banks and Bank Australia who offer attractive loans for renewable energy.

  3. Alex Rogers 3 years ago

    Don’t forget, people, the CEFC is not giving taxpayer money away – it is assisting with finance & loans for green projects that are expected to make a commercial return. 2-3 years ago the big banks were not doing small commercial loans for solar as they did not understand the risk. They are getting it now, and pricing finance more reasonably – and this should help reduce it a bit further. Good for CEFC / Westpac and Verdia – another small step towards normalising solar finance.

    Do we really need more incentives for solar and wind? I’d rather see subsidies for fossil fuels removed and disincentives for polluters (i.e. a carbon price…) really ramped up – and then let the “market” sort itself out.

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