Green financier and pioneer of Australia’s “buy now pay later” rooftop solar market, Brighte, has been tapped by the ACT government to administer the first phase of its $150 million Sustainable Household Scheme, while also flagging a move into the electric vehicle financing space.
Sydney-based Brighte said on Thursday that it had been selected by the Capital Territory government to manage the provision and administration of finance through the scheme, deliver program administration services and manage its suppliers and installers.
The company said the program would leverage its innovative digital and mobile financing solution, “best in class” supplier accreditation process and long lasting and deep supplier relationships.
The policy, announced as part of the ACT’s 2020-21 Budget in January, will provide zero-interest loans of between $2,000 and $15,000 for energy efficiency home upgrades, ranging from solar and battery storage, to electric vehicles and chargers, and efficient electric appliances.
The scheme, which will be open to new applications for five years, will require successful applicants to repay the zero-interest loans over a period of 10 years.
For the loans through the ACT scheme, applicants must satisfy standard credit criteria to be eligible and must begin repaying the loans once the product/system has been installed or purchased, or the installer has sent the invoice to the loans provider.
Each participant in the scheme can borrow a total of up to $15,000 over the life of the scheme, but no more, even if a previous loan has been repaid. Participants can install one product or a bundle of products from the list of eligible items, which you can learn about here.
Brighte, outside of its participation in the ACT scheme, currently offers a number of financial products to help households buy rooftop PV and undertake energy efficiency measures and other home improvements, with the zero or low-interest loans designed to enable households to use savings on electricity costs to pay off the loan.
The company said late last year that it had provided finance for more than 52,000 rooftop solar installations in Australia (as at the end of 2020) and was pursuing new opportunities in the market, including the establishment of an integrated rooftop solar and electricity retailing solution.
“From day one we have had a deliberate and clear strategy of focusing on the industry verticals we know best – residential solar, batteries and home improvements,” said Brighte founder and CEO Katherine McConnell in late 2020, when it was announced the company had received $100 million to fund the move, including from Atlassian co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar.
This week, the company announced it was also moving into the electric vehicle financing space for the first time, using its participation in the ACT scheme as a foundation to offer loans, first in the Capital, and then nationally over the coming year.
“The growth of electric vehicles is both an inevitability and opportunity Brighte can help households take advantage of,” said McConnell in a statement on Thursday.
“Brighte is perfectly positioned to offer EV finance to complement our range of sustainable finance offerings. EVs aren’t just going to play role on our roads – but also in driving smart sustainable homes.”
Brighte’s part in the ACT scheme is for the first 12 months, only, with an option for a further 12-month extension to be decided by the government. The company said it had been chosen as administrator of the policy due to its position as Australia’s “leading and only” dedicated home energy financier.
“This is the first time a program of this nature has been put to a competitive tender process which is important for the continued growth of an innovative and competitive renewable financing sector and delivering value to households,” noted McConnell.
“Brighte is on a mission to make every home sustainable, so there is a strong and natural alignment between our purpose and the Scheme’s objectives,” she said.
“We look forward to delivering a successful scheme for ACT households and partnering with other like-minded organisations to accelerate the transition to sustainable homes and a clean energy future.”