October 23, 2023

Green Loans for Solar Panels: An In-Depth Guide

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What is a green loan?

Green loans help people pay for projects that are good for the environment, like putting solar panels on their homes or buying energy-saving appliances.

These loans usually have better interest rates and terms than other loans, making it easier for people to go green.

Green loans are great for homeowners who would love to get solar power but can't afford to. Instead of buying it outright from the start, they can pay it off in monthly instalments. This usually means that the homeowner might need to pay interest on this loan.

This article explores what a green loan is, and whether it is suitable for you.

If you want a 0% interest rate, while also wanting to get solar for a $0 deposit, check out our Go Sunny ANYTIME Plan.

A Quick History of Green Loans: How It All Began

1960s Adelaide
1960s Adelaide

Green loans, as we know them today, have their roots in the growing environmental awareness that started in the 1960s and 1970s.

People began to realise that our planet's resources were limited and that we needed to find ways to protect the environment.

In the early days, green loans were mainly used by businesses wanting to invest in eco-friendly projects or technologies. As time went on, more and more financial institutions started to offer green loans to everyday people who wanted to make their homes and lives greener.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, governments around the world began to take notice of the growing interest in green loans. They started offering incentives like tax breaks and grants to people who chose green loans for their projects, making these loans even more popular.

Tesla home
Tesla home

Nowadays, most green loans are easy to find and can be used for all sorts of things, like putting solar panels on your house, buying energy-saving appliances, or even getting an electric car. More and more people are choosing green loans to make the world a cleaner, happier place for all of us.

How does a green loan work?

So you're looking to get a solar system installed on your house.

You start getting quotes and realise that paying them off outright could be more than you had imagined. That's quite normal.

So you start looking into a personal loan. But then you have to through the process of a personal loan application. Depending on the interest rate from the financial institution, your monthly repayments could be quite large.

This is where a green loan can help.

Here are the steps.

  1. You choose a solar installation company to install a solar system on your house.
  2. Instead of asking you to pay the entire amount right away, the company charges the cost to the bank (eg. Plenti).
  3. The bank pays the full amount to the solar installation company, and they install the solar panels on your home.
  4. You start repaying the bank over a period of a few years, based on an agreed payment plan.
  5. The amount you pay back depends on the interest rate, which might change over time (that's called a variable interest rate).

With this, you can enjoy the benefits of solar power today without paying for all of it. It's a smart way to make your home more eco-friendly and invest in a greener future!

Why Green Personal Loans are Great

There are several good things about using a green personal loan for your solar panel project:

  • Better interest rates: Green loans usually have good fixed interest rates, making it cheaper to pay for your solar panel system.
  • Different loan times: With green personal loans, you can pick how long you want to take to pay back the money, so it works with your budget.
  • No need for collateral: Many green loans are unsecured personal loans, which means you don't need to give the financial institution something valuable to make sure you pay back the money.
  • Helping the environment: By using a green loan to pay for your solar panels, you help grow renewable energy and make the world cleaner and greener.

How to Choose the Right Green Loan

Picking the best green loan might seem tricky, but with a few simple tips, you can make a well-informed choice. Keep these factors in mind when you're looking for the right green loan:

Compare interest rates

Look for a loan with a competitive interest rate, as this will affect how much you pay back over time. Remember that lower interest rates mean more affordable repayments.

Check for fees

Some loans come with extra fees, like establishment or account-keeping fees. Make sure you understand all the costs involved and choose a loan with minimal fees.

Assess the loan terms

Green loans offer different repayment periods, usually ranging from a few years to a decade. Consider your budget and pick a loan term that suits your financial situation.

Investigate eligibility requirements

Some green loans have specific criteria that you need to meet, like being an existing customer with the bank or having a certain credit score. Make sure you're eligible before applying.

Look for flexibility

It's a good idea to choose a green loan that allows you to make extra repayments or pay off the loan early without any penalties. This gives you the freedom to pay back the loan faster if your financial situation improves.

By considering these factors, you'll be well on your way to selecting the perfect green loan for your needs. Make the smart choice and invest in a brighter, greener future for yourself and the planet!

Plenti Green Loan

Plenti Green loans Logo

Plenti is an Australian lending company offering green loans to help Australians create more sustainable futures with renewable energy systems.

With a competitive interest rate starting at 9.49% p.a. and a comparison rate of 10.6% p.a., Plenti green loans provide competitive rates for those looking to finance solar panels, solar hot water systems, and other energy-efficient products.

The loans offer loan amounts ranging from $2,000 to $45,000, with loan terms of 3 to 7 years.

There are no early repayment fees, allowing borrowers to repay their loans sooner without incurring additional charges.

Brighte Green Loan

Brighte Green Loans logo

Brighte is another Australian lender offering green loans for energy-efficient products, such as solar panels, solar batteries, inverters, and solar heating and cooling.

Brighte Green Loan offers a fixed interest rate starting from 9.49% p.a., with a comparison rate of 10.70% p.a.

Borrowers can apply for loans between $1,000 and $30,000, with repayment terms from 2 to 7 years.

While Brighte charges a $299 establishment fee and a $2.70 weekly account-keeping fee, there are no fees for early repayment.

Comparison Table between Plenti and Brighte

ProviderInterest RateComparison RateLoan AmountLoan TermEstablishment Fee
PlentiFrom 9.49%10.6%$2,000 - $45,0003 - 7 years$8.99 Monthly fees
BrighteFrom 9.49%10.70%$1,000 - $30,0002 - 7 years$299

When comparing green loans, it is essential to consider factors such as interest rates, comparison rates, loan amounts, loan terms, and fees.

Each lender offers unique features that cater to different borrower needs and preferences.

Carefully evaluate your financial situation and requirements before choosing the most suitable green loan option for your solar panel or energy-efficient product installation.

Applying for a Green Loan

To get a green loan, these are the general requirements. Different banks have different requirements.

  1. Be at least 18 years old, and sometimes even 21 or older.
  2. Be an Australian citizen or have permanent residency.
  3. Earn a minimum of $25,000 per year from a regular, proven source of income.
  4. You may need to have a good credit history
  5. Have a full driver's licence.

Additionally, the solar panels you plan to install with the green loan must have a system size equal to or greater than 6 kilowatts (kW), including the inverter if needed.

Secured vs. Unsecured Green Personal Loans

When applying for a green personal loan, you may have the option to choose between a secured and an unsecured loan.

A secured loan requires collateral, such as your home or car, whereas an unsecured green personal loan does not.

While secured loans often come with lower interest rates, they also carry a higher risk should you default on the loan.

Why do Green Loans make sense?

Green loans work because electricity prices are rising rapidly.

Take a look at the historical wholesale prices in Australia.

Australia wholesale electricity wholesale prices

It doesn't take a scientist to guess that prices will keep rising to the top right. What can we do?

While the government are still offering STCs as rebates, it makes sense to invest in solar power now.

Considerations for Green Loans

Even though green loans can be a great way to save money and help the environment, they might not be the right choice for everyone.

Here are a few reasons why green loans may not be suitable for you:

Cost of solar power

You will still need to pay for the solar system at the end of the day. If you're not sure about your financial situation or if you can afford the loan repayments, it might not be the best time to take out a green loan.

Long payback period

Some people might find the payback period too long, especially if they plan to move to a new home soon.

If you don't stay in your home long enough, you might not get the full benefits of your investment in the form of energy savings.

Unsuitable property

Some properties might not be suitable for green installations. For example, if your home doesn't get enough sunlight, solar panels might not work well. You should consider whether your home is a good fit for the eco-friendly improvements you want to make.

Before deciding on a green loan, think about your personal situation, your property, and your financial goals. It's essential to consider all these factors to make the right decision for you.

What was the federal government's Green Loans program?

The Green Loans Program was a plan started by the Australian Federal Government in 2009. They wanted to help homeowners make their homes better for the environment and save money on energy bills.

The program aimed to lower greenhouse gas emissions created by Australian households.

Through this program, homeowners could get a free home assessment to find out ways to make their homes more energy-efficient. After the assessment, they could apply for a low-interest green loan to help pay for the recommended improvements.

These changes could include things like adding insulation, installing solar panels, or using energy-efficient appliances.

Unfortunately, the Green Loans Program faced some issues and ended in 2011.

Final Thoughts on Green Loans

Green loans for solar panels offer an attractive financing solution for those looking to invest in renewable energy and energy-efficient products.

By comparing various green loan options and choosing a loan that best suits your needs, you can take advantage of competitive interest rates, flexible loan terms, and the opportunity to make a positive environmental impact.

However, if a green loan is not suitable for you, there are alternatives.

You can still get a solar system for a 0% interest rate, while also wanting to get solar for a $0 deposit, check out our Go Sunny ANYTIME Plan.

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