Local councils and businesses to benefit from renewable energy funding initiative

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $630,000 in funding for the expansion of the Sustainable Australia Fund's (SAF) Better Building Finance service to NSW and SA, providing access for local businesses to low-cost, long-term finance for renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades.

Originally set up by the City of Melbourne, SAF first began in Victoria where it provided low-cost financing under the Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF) program (called Building Upgrade Finance in NSW and SA).

EUF is a government facilitated tri-party finance mechanism that can be used to finance renewable energy and sustainability upgrades to commercial and non-residential buildings.

The building owner can take out a low cost, long term loan to pay for upgrades to their existing building, but instead of repaying the lender directly, their local council acts as a collection agent, using the existing council rates process to collect the loan repayments, which are then passed on to the lender.

SAF’s Better Building Finance service helps councils to join the EUF program and provides third party administration services, creating an open market for businesses to access this finance.

Already, 34 Victorian councils currently use the Better Building Finance service, facilitating more than $30 million of investment in environmental upgrades for over 70 buildings.

The $1.6 million project will help SAF to develop Better Building Finance into an online platform to make EUF simpler to implement, deploying $50 million into renewable energy and building upgrade investments.

With ARENA’s support, SAF will also sign up an initial 23 councils across NSW and SA to the Better Building Finance platform.

More information is here.

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