Election 2023: Labour says there's 'huge public benefit' from offering solar panel rebates

There's been a solar lolly scramble from Labour today: it's promising free money for free power to help go carbon-free.  

The party's pledging to give $2,000 towards solar panels for your house, and another $2,000 towards a battery bank.  

Sean Fitzpatrick makes a living installing solar panels, starting Bay Solar with his brother two years ago. 

He said they can go up to around $16,000 depending on the type of roof.

Labour's vowing to make it even cheaper, unveiling a solar rebate package.  

"It's a package of up to $4000 grant to put solar panels and a battery on your house," said energy spokesperson Megan Woods.

There are two parts to it. A $2000 rebate on solar panels, and a $2000 rebate off batteries to store the power. To be eligible, your household income must be less than $250,000 a year. 

Asked if Labour was proposing to subsidise wealthy New Zealanders to get solar, Woods said: "There's huge public benefit from this as well," said Woods. "We need more solar generation in New Zealand."

Fitzpatrick said there's "never been a better time to put solar panels up".  

For those who don't have thousands sitting around, Labour's banking on the banks.

"There are a number of banks that are doing zero or low interest loans to make these kinds of improvements".  

National's Christopher Luxon said he hadn't seen the details of Labour's proposal, but believes that for "Labour, most things don't get delivered".

Asked why Labour hadn't done this in its previous six years in power, Woods said: "This is building on work we've already started. This isn't starting from zero."

It's not costing zero either. Labour's budgeted $310m over four years and it's not just private houses they want solar panels on, but also 1,000 state houses every year  

It also covers community solar projects like one at Mangatawa, which had panels installed last year.