Business Opportunities as we move to Net Zero Emissions
By Terry White
In this guide we provide current contact information for programs that can help you cut your business energy costs.
Because of falling solar prices and government post-covid economic recovery programs, there has never been a better time to invest in energy saving and move to 100% clean energy.
This is general information only and does not constitute financial advice. Whatever options you choose it is worth conducting an energy assessment before considering financing or co-financing.
Business Energy Advice Program
contact: 1300 415 224
The Australian Federal Government has a Business Energy Advice Program that operates in every State and Territory. This $11.7M program helps small businesses get better energy deals and increase their energy efficiency. To be eligible, businesses must have between 6 and 20 employees. The program provides free consultations and tailored advice on the energy efficiency options best suited to your business.
Energy Performance Contractors
The Energy Efficiency Council provides contact details for Energy Performance Contractors. EPCs are skilled teams of engineers who come to your premises and conduct a detailed energy audit of your whole business. They then offer to carry out an Environmental Upgrade at their own expense and are paid back over time from the energy savings their retrofit has made possible.
SUBSIDIES REBATES & DISCOUNTS
Victorian Energy Upgrades Program
contact: (03) 8626 8700
The Victorian Energy Upgrades Program can help small businesses make significant cuts in their annual energy bills. For larger businesses the savings can run into hundreds of thousands. By consulting the list of accredited energy saving product suppliers listed by the program and choosing the products that are best suited to your needs, your business becomes eligible for Victorian Government discounts on lighting, water efficiency, hot water, space heating and cooling, custom upgrades and appliances.
Small Business Energy Saver Program
contact: 1300 363 744
The Small Business Energy Saver Program provides small businesses with a bonus rebate on top of those available through the Victorian Energy Upgrades Program described above .The exact cost of approved energy efficiency improvements will depend on the number and type of energy upgrades undertaken. To be eligible, businesses must have 1 to 19 employees and operate from commercial (non-residential) premises. Businesses could save up to 85% of their installation costs and up to 15% in annual operating costs. Upgrades can include replacing inefficient gas hot water systems and installing Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners, Refrigerator Display Cabinets, Fridges and Freezers, Heat Pumps, Ventilation Fans and Motors.
State Government Solar for Business Program
To register, contact: 1300 432 044
The State Government Solar for Business Program is now open for 15,000 eligible small businesses who want to reduce their energy costs by installing solar panels. Rebates of up $3,500 will be available until all 5000 rebates for 2021 have been fully allocated. To be eligible for 2021 rebates, businesses must be the owner of the business and its premises. The business must have no more than 20 employees. The premises must be individually metered and the systems must be installed by a registered installer. After the first 5,000 rebates are allocated, rebates will reduce to up to $1,750 and rented premises may become eligible.
Instant Asset Write Offs
contact: 13 28 61
All the above options are made even more financially accessible by changes to tax law that were announced in the last two Federal budgets. Instant Asset Write Offs allow businesses with a turnover of up to $500 million to claim immediate 100% reduction of depreciable assets up to $150,000. This means that companies are able to decrease their taxable income by the same amount that they pay for their smart energy assets in the same year that they install them. This temporary full expensing tax write-off makes energy efficiency options like solar, batteries, EVs and other environmental upgrades more affordable than ever. It has now been extended to 30 June 2023.
Environmental Upgrade Finance
If your business wants to do a building upgrade or install solar you may have access to government enabled finance. Environmental Upgrade Finance is a fixed rate, long term loan that gives you access to the capital you need to unlock savings and make your building more sustainable. The building owner enters into an agreement with their local Council and a lender in what is called an Environmental Upgrade Agreement.
Repayments are made through your local Council over terms of up to 20 years. Loans are tied to the building, not the owner, which means no upfront cash or capital is required.
Sustainable Australia Fund
The Sustainable Australia Fund is Australia’s leading provider of Environmental Upgrade Finance. They work with businesses to finance renewable energy projects and building upgrades that improve efficiency or reduce waste. This includes installing solar panels, battery storage, energy management systems, heat pumps, electric vehicle charging stations, daylighting, energy efficient lighting, electric motors, pumps, ventilation systems, fans, blowers, compressed air systems, double glazing and insulation.
Environmental Upgrade Finance is the only loan available that can finance 100% of project costs, including both hard and soft costs. With terms of 4-20 years, the team at Sustainable Australia Fund work with their clients to ensure the project is cash flow positive from year one, where savings exceed payments. Unlike other types of business loans, there is no additional personal security required.
Sustainable Australia Fund is the financier who provides the funds for the building upgrade. The Council is the billing agent who collects the repayments on a quarterly basis alongside municipal rates.