The Greens are proposing cheap government loans for installing solar panels on homes.
However, the government says the loans will cost taxpayers.
The loans would be up to $15,000 and cover the full cost of installation.
They would be attached to the home, not the homeowner, and would be repaid through rates over 15 years.
After that households would have free electricity for the lifetime of the panels.
Excess power generated by the panels would be sold back to the grid at a “fair price”.
Co-leader Russel Norman announced the policy, called Solar Homes, on Sunday.
“It lets Kiwis take the power back, and break free from the big energy companies,” he said.
“Solar Homes will underpin dramatic growth in the industry with a target of 30,000 installations in the first three years.”
There are no government subsidies involved and the interest rate on loans would be 4.1 per cent.
“What we’re announcing will help free Kiwis from the worry and stress of rising electricity prices,” Dr Norman said.
“Availability of finance is seen as one of the key barriers to the uptake of solar power – Solar Homes removes this barrier.”
Dr Norman says the panels are efficient and the value of the power they produce would be about $100 a year more than the cost of repayments for a typical system.
Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges said if the loans have a lower interest rate than normal, the plan must involve a government subsidy.
“There is certainly a place for solar in New Zealand, but given the abundance of lower cost renewable alternatives, it can’t be a priority to subsidise solar power or change the rules to suit a specific technology,” Mr Bridges said.
Labour and the Greens already have a joint policy to restructure the electricity market, inserting a state-owned purchasing agency that would buy power from the hydro companies and sell it to consumers.