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Super savings from solar panels

7th Jul 2011

Federal and state governments are offering a range of enticing incentives for installing solar energy systems.

Australia's federal government is offering a rebate of $1,000 for the installation of solar or $600 for heat pump hot water systems.

Meanwhile, in Sydney, the council runs information seminars for residents to learn more about installing rooftop solar photovoltaic panels, which have the added benefit of allowing like-minded environmentally conscious residents the opportunity to get to know a bit more about each other.

In Adelaide, council-run incentives include reimbursements of up to $1,000 for households installing solar panels generating up to one kilowatt of electricity in peak time. Panels that are used to provide electricity for lighting in common areas - such as corridors in apartment buildings - may be eligible for even further incentives to a maximum of $5,000.

Rebate forms for these schemes - as well as solar hot water and rainwater tanks - can be found on the council website.

In Brisbane the council has established the EzyGreen Energy Reduction Program, with a number of environmentally-conscious, energy saving initiatives.

They have bundled local, state and federal energy savings schemes into one package for both tenants and home-owners across the greater Brisbane area.

Offers include green energy use discounts, reductions on energy-saving appliances, electric bikes and scooters, and of course discounts on installing solar hot water and solar power systems.

There are also some competitive finance options to help cover the outlay for a solar power system.

Members of EzyGreen will also be able to access the Queensland government's ClimateSmart Home Service.

Also in Queensland, the Sunshine Coast community of Valdora is planning a new solar farm that could power up to 2,500 new homes using solar energy.

The Sunshine Coast Council is aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2020, generating up to 40 megawatts of renewable energy on the Sunshine Coast.

Director of development services Julie Edwards said they are trying to eliminate "unnecessary costs or planning hurdles" for people looking to generate renewable energy on a small scale.

As part of their Energy Transition Plan the council is working on making it easier for homeowners to install eco-friendly solar panels by waiving the requirement to seek planning approval for roof-mounted solar panel systems.

The council itself is putting solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs of its visitor centres and libraries.

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