NSW election result: Berejiklian’s NSW Empowering Homes solar battery program wins out

A new solar farm in NSW Riverina is part of a large-scale solar boom across Australia.

Gladys Berejiklian’s Liberal-National Party coalition NSW election triumph on Saturday means the NSW Empowering Homes program will soon offer help to install solar panels and home batteries.

No-interest loans of up to $9,000 for battery systems and up to $14,000 for solar-battery systems will be available under the program. Up to 300,000 homes could be fitted out with this technology according the coalition.

To be eligible for the scheme, applicants will need to be owner-occupiers of a house. Annual combined household income must not exceed $180,000.

Labor vs Libs – the battle of the solar programs

In February, NSW Labor promised a solar rebate program of up to $2,200 for 500,000 households if it won.

Solar panels such as these can be financed under the returned LNP NSW administration

Solar panels such as these can be financed under the returned LNP NSW administration

It was a strategy straight from the Victorian Labor Government’s play book. The Andrews Government’s Solar Homes program opened three months before the November state election last year.

The program was a key factor in that government’s overwhelming success in last year’s state election. It was announced five days before Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull became a victim of Liberal Party in-fighting over its energy policy.

NSW Empowering Homes program announced

Despite being caught out in a pre-election claim that NSW leads the way in solar uptake (that honour is Queensland’s) the Premier Berejiklian was quick to respond.

She announced the 10-year NSW Empowering Homes program to unlock a $3.2 billion renewables investment.

Her government also promised 300,000 households no-interest loans to buy solar panel and battery systems if it was returned.

NSW coal-fired plants ‘not on the agenda’

In March, the Premier was also quick to deny support for new coal-fired power generation in the state.

She said her government had no plans to approve any new coal-fired power stations in NSW. This came after a proposal emerged for a Chinese-backed coal-fired plant in the Hunter Valley.

A Hong Kong investment firm said a deal has been signed to build two large coal-fired power plants near the town of Kurri Kurri in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley region.

The Premier said the government had not received an application for the 2,000 MW project. In addition, she said coal-fired power plants were “not on our agenda at the moment”.

Energy Matters will bring readers details of the Empowering Homes program, including how to apply, as they come to hand.