The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) announced on Monday it is investing up to $200 million alongside ANZ Bank to offer discounted financing to Australian small to medium (SME) businesses for upgrades and new investments in renewable technologies including installing solar PV and energy storage and to purchasing electric vehicles (EVs).
The CEFC and ANZ will provide cheap loans for a wide range of activities, with the two organisations each contributing 0.25% toward a 0.5% discount on loans of up to $5 million.
The CEFC said the loans could be used to fund a broad range of initiatives aimed at reducing emissions, ranging from using more renewable energy to buying energy efficient, precision agricultural equipment, recycling technologies and purchasing EVs.
“Small to medium businesses are a critical part of Australia’s economy,” CEFC chief executive Ian Learmonth said. “As the cost of energy and other inputs continues to rise, it is important to help them access the benefits that renewable energy, battery storage and energy-efficient equipment can deliver.”
ANZ’s managing director of commercial and private banking, Isaac Rankin, said many business banking customers were trying to upgrade their operations to work in a low-carbon economy.
“(They are) moving towards a more sustainable future,” he said. “Whether it be an electric truck or solar panels, we want to give Australian businesses access to finance, services and advice to invest in equipment which will help them to shift to low-carbon business models and operations that put them on a path to net zero emissions.”
The Energy Efficiency Council has estimated that improving energy efficiency has the potential to save households and businesses up to $7.7 billion each year on their energy bills.
The CEFC’s commitment extends its collaboration with ANZ in a clean energy finance program initiated in 2017. The additional $200 million in finance announced on Monday will take the CEFC’s total commitment to the program to $450 million.
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