Low Cost Green Loans Launch Date Announced

Australia’s Environment Minister, Peter Garrett. announced on Friday the launch date and further details of a green loans program designed to assist Australian families in making their homes more energy and water efficient. 
The rollout  of the program has experienced significant delays and was meant to start earlier this year, but Mr Garrett said that given the Government’s $4 billion investment in energy efficiency, lower interest rates and major shifts in the global financial markets, some changes needed to be made to the scheme to ensure that it it was better focused.
According to Mr. Garrett, 1000 home sustainability assessors are ready to commence and will begin providing free in-home assessments and advice on heating, cooling, lighting, hot water and water efficiency in every capital city and two regional locations from this week. 
Five financial institutions have also signed up to provide funding for the Green Loans Program component starting July 1, 2009 and the government is in negotiations with a number of other financial providers.
Aside from free assessments for 360,000 households that will identify simple, low-cost energy efficiency actions such as changing the types of light globes used, sealing draughts and repairing leaking taps; 75,000 loans of up to $10,000 will also be made available to go towards the purchase of grid connect solar power or solar hot water systems
Loans will be interest free for the first 4 years and available to households with an annual income of under $250,000. Eligibility for the loan subsidy is not affected by other available rebates. The green loans scheme will run over 5 years. Further details can be viewed here.