A county council authority in Wales are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to encouraging homeowners to install solar panels. Powys County Council in Wales are so keen to persuade homeowners that domestic renewable energy systems such as solar PV panels are worthwhile, that they’re offering an interest free loan system to help them cover the initial costs. The Local Authority have partnered themselves with the West Wales Eco Centre and Robert Owen Community Banking Fund, to offer homeowners interest-free loans through what they’ve dubbed the ‘ZILF’ scheme. ZILF stands for Zero Interest Loan Finance (ZILF) and the scheme will aim to aid homeowners in reducing both carbon emissions and their energy bills.
The ZILF scheme, which operates through the Carbon Dioxide Initiative, offers homeowners up to £5,000 for solar PV installations or up to £3,000 for solar thermal installations. Compared to a five year £5000 loan from a bank with a typical 14.5%, a ZILF loan will save you £2080 over the lifetime of the loan! That’s a saving of £35 per month!
Of course, if you use the loan to install a solar PV or solar heating system, then you won’t just be saving money on the loan, you’ll also be making significant savings on your energy bill too. Under the Government’s Feed-in-Tariff scheme, residents who take advantage of the ZILF scheme are set to enjoy huge savings for the next couple decades.
Feed-in Tariffs pay homeowners a set amount for each unit of renewable energy they generate. This payment is guaranteed for a period of 25 years, but for new entrants, is likely to decrease annually after April 2012. Therefore, to take advantage, it is best to enroll sooner rather than later!
Interest free loans for solar PV and solar thermal installations are not just confined to Wales though – the Home Renewables Loan Scheme began offering interest free loans to homeowners in Scotland from 1 April 2011. The scheme will provide a limited number of interest free loans of up to £2000 to homeowners north of the border to install renewable energy systems, including solar panels.
As local authorities and regional governments look to encourage homeowners to reduce carbon emissions, solar PV and solar thermal systems are looking increasingly likely to become big hits. This is especially true given the huge financial rewards offered to homeowners who are quick to invest in these exciting new technologies.