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In the past, lack of available cash or capital funds have been barriers for companies looking to access the benefits of renewable energy. This is changing.

Government incentives are available that help to reduce the upfront cost of your solution and make a cash purchase much more affordable. Those same incentives can also be bundled with finance options to suit your business needs. Finance can be an attractive option for many businesses where the energy cost savings from your solution exceed the financing costs.

  • There are multiple means of financing your ZEN Energy solution.

  • Zero dollar deposit options are available to selected commercial customers.

  • Be aware of some of the possible advantages and disadvantages with potential funding options.

  • You should seek financial advice from your accountant or a registered advisor prior to making any decision.

Which finance option is right for your business?

Whether you prefer to purchase your renewable energy solution in cash (whether sourced from cash reserves or credit already available to you), arrange a third party finance lease, take advantage of building or environmental upgrade finance, or utilise power purchase agreements, there’s a finance option that’s right for your business. Read on to learn more about funding options and some of the potential advantages and disadvantages they have.

The most obvious way to finance your renewable energy solution is by paying cash. By using your own cash reserves and owning the solution outright from day one, you exclude the added costs of interest and other financing charges. This ensures you achieve the lowest total cost over the life of your system and the quickest return available.

Where cash or CapEx funds are available, this option could be expected to provide the lowest delivered cost of solar energy to your site over the life of the system, compared with other finance options.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Lowest lifetime costMay not be practicable for all clients
Lowest delivered cost of solar energyHighest upfront cost
Shortest payback period on your investmentReduces available cash for other uses
Zero deposit options available

 

In situations where cash or CapEx is not available, businesses may consider financing a renewable energy investment through a lease arrangement.

These arrangements would require the involvement of a third party credit provider. They then own your ZEN Energy solution and lease it to your business for an agreed period in return for fixed monthly repayments. Your lease may be able to be structured so that your electricity savings exceed the cost of your repayments, making your investment cashflow-positive from the beginning. Income tax deductibility of lease payments is often also worth exploring. Depending on the nature of the lease, at the end of its term it may be possible to choose whether to renew the lease, purchase the system outright from the finance provider, or end your lease.

While this option results in a longer payback period and a higher cost over the life of the system compared to cash, finance leases could reduce your upfront costs and the time to a cashflow-positive solution, in some cases significantly.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Frees up cash and CapEx funds for other usesLonger payback period, compared to cash
Reduces your upfront costsHigher lifetime cost, compared to cash
A quicker time to cashflow-positiveRequires a third party finance provider
Zero deposit options availableCredit terms may change over time

Building Upgrade Finance and Environmental Upgrade Agreement financing is relatively new to the market, and is most often derived from a large fund created by a combination of low interest Government funds and private investment. These funds are created specifically to fund commercial renewable energy solutions, and are available in certain areas of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

The difference between this form of finance and a typical finance lease is that it’s often administered by your local Council, with the repayments collected by your Council or similar Local Government Authority. This form of finance may typically be offered over longer periods and on better terms than a standard lease. It is designed so that the dollar savings provided by your solution are greater than the repayments you make.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Frees up cash and CapEx funds for other usesLonger payback period, compared to cash
Reduces your upfront costsHigher lifetime cost, compared to cash
A quicker time to cashflow-positiveRequires a third party finance provider
Often better finance terms than a leaseCredit terms may still change over time
Zero deposit options availableNot available in all areas

If outright ownership of your renewable energy solution is not a factor in your decision but you still want to benefit from clean energy produced at your site, a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) may be the best finance option for you.

A PPA is a finance approach where a firm (typically a third party credit provider) takes full ownership of the ZEN Energy solution on your behalf, along with responsibility for ongoing maintenance. In return, your business purchases the solar energy produced by the solution at an agreed rate (or rates) over a long term agreement.

It’s important to know that the terms of a PPA are typically a “take or pay” agreement, where you pay for all energy the system produces irrespective of whether you consume it or send it back to the grid. This means that it’s important to ensure that your PPA-financed solution is sized primarily for self-consumption, which your expert ZEN Energy consultant will be able to assist with.

Under a PPA, the rate agreed for your solar energy should be cheaper than your current and anticipated grid electricity costs for the PPA to be commercially acceptable. In addition, upfront costs are minimal, and your business is much less exposed to ongoing technological, service, or operational risks. The trade-off for these benefits are a higher total lifetime cost compared with other finance options, the need to enter a long-term agreement with a third party, and an understanding that you or your business will not own the system outright.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Frees up cash and CapEx funds for other usesHighest lifetime cost of all presented options
Reduces your upfront costsRequires a third party finance provider
A quicker time to cashflow-positiveCredit terms may still change over time
Financier responsible for operation and maintenanceBenefits are more dependent on system sizing
Zero deposit options availableSystem ownership may never transfer to you

Further considerations

The options for financing your renewable energy solution are many and detailed. It’s important to ensure that the option you choose is best suited to your business needs.

Of course everyone’s circumstances are different. We recommend getting financial advice from your accountant or a registered advisor prior to making any decision concerning the use of credit for your ZEN Energy solution.

If you choose to investigate options such as a finance lease, Building Upgrade Finance, Environmental Upgrade Agreement, or a Power Purchase Agreement, ZEN will be happy to direct you to firms who provide such facilities to assist you further.

Please note that ZEN Energy is not licensed to provide financial advice or tax advice, financial services or financial products including credit or credit assistance, and ZEN Energy does not recommend any particular form of credit contract or credit provider. ZEN Energy receives no financial benefit from any credit providers for any customers referred to them.

Speak to one of our expert consultants to discuss potential finance options for your business.

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Zen Energy PTY LTD

Sustainable Industries Education
Centre TAFE SA
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TONSLEY SA 5042

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