Solar power to the people: Labor promises interest-free, $10,000 loans

Photo: Shutterstock.
Photo: Shutterstock.

Every South Australian will be eligible for a loan of up to $10,000 towards the cost of solar panels and battery systems if Labor wins the upcoming election.

The loans would be interest-free for seven years, and would help lower power bills for those who participated, Premier Jay Weatherill said.

Mr Weatherill said the scheme had been planned in response to the overwhelming response – 33,000 expressions of interest – to Labor’s plan to subsidise a limited number of solar power systems.

Labor’s scheme would also support Mr Weatherill’s aim to have 75 per cent of South Australia’s electricity drawn from renewable sources by 2025.

The Liberal Party announced a comparable policy for homeowners in October: grants of up to $2500 for up to 40,000 people who wanted to install battery systems.

But Liberal spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan argued that more renewable generation would only drive up electricity prices.

“South Australians are furious about the outrageous price of electricity they pay and tired of the Weatherill government’s refusal to accept responsibility,” he said.

Nick Xenophon’s SA Best party plans to establish a community electricity trust, an organisation which would invest in renewable power generation and deliver cheaper power prices to its members, if it gains the balance of power.

Mr Xenophon also vowed to withdraw his support from any government which failed to reduce power prices by 20 per cent by December 2019.

Meanwhile, the Australian Conservatives have proposed coal or nuclear power as the solution to the state’s energy woes, saying the cheapest and most reliable generation method should be used, regardless of other factors.

They also advocated a nuclear waste dump in SA, saying the billions of dollars worth of revenue it would raise would allow the state government to repeal payroll tax, stamp duty, land tax, the emergency services levy and the NRM levy in their entirety.

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