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HOME SOLAR POWER INSTALLATION GRANTS AND INCENTIVES

Click on your national flag to jump to the appropriate section.

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General Comments

Grants towards installation costs of home solar power systems are available in a number of countries.  Experience shows that all policies are subject to change and, in some cases, to a stop-start regime.

It is not unusual for government agencies to have a limited amount for distribution for each year or period of allocation.  In such circumstances, when all the funds have gone, there is no more until the next allocation is made.  Agencies are reviewing the amounts for each renewable energy source (solar, wind, biofuel, etc) in the light of experience and so amounts available vary accordingly.  While incentives are being offered, governments are yet to wholeheartedly embrace subsidising this market, some saying that grants distort the market and may inhibit developments.

This page is regularly updated as information becomes available.  However, if you send us your details (see the Free Updates: Keep Informed box on the left) we can let you know when changes that affect your country are announced.

 

Australia

An improved solar power policy was announced on 8 May 2007 by the Federal Ministry of Environment & Water Resources.  The funding available for solar power has doubled to A$150 million.

"Cash rebates are available to householders, owners of community use buildings, display home builders and housing estate developers who install grid-connected or stand-alone photovoltaic systems," under the Australian Government's Photovoltaic Rebate Programme.

"The rebate for solar panels on homes provided through the Government’s Photovoltaic Rebate Programme (PVRP) will increase from the current $4 per watt, up to a maximum of $4,000, to $8 per watt, up to a maximum of $8,000."  The increased rebates will apply to applications lodged from 9 May 2007.

It was expected that 14,000 homes would take advantage of this rebate programme, and that the number of rooftop solar power systems would double over the next five years   The additional funding will also provide for training and accreditation of solar panel installers.

For more information, contact the national information line on 1300 138 122 or click on the following links for information on how the rebate is administered in your state:

ACT, NSWNT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA

While the above text relates to electricity generation by solar power, states do administer their own rebate scheme for solar hot water heating systems as well.  Follow the state links above.

 

Canada

Canada is emphasising energy efficiency and conservation to meet a variety of objectives.  While financial assistance is available for home solar hot water systems, the majority of federal financial incentives go towards solar space and water heating in commercial and industrial developments, and in developing residential pilot projects.

For new homes, the ideal is a home that matches the R-2000 standard, which is a system for building and certifying new homes to a higher energy efficiency standard, well beyond what building codes require.

For existing homes, as part of the ecoENERGY Retrofit program, property owners can qualify for federal grants by improving the energy efficiency of their homes, and reducing their home's impact on the environment.  Should you respond to the required energy efficiency assessment by installing a solar domestic hot water system that meets CAN/CSA Standards, you can receive a grant of C$500.  This applies to single family homes including detached, semi-detached and low-rise multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) that are no more than three storeys high.  This grant is available until 31 March 2011.

Provincial governments have each gone their own way so there is no set pattern of financial assistance.

British Columbia

  • has an exemption of PST for all solar systems and equipment sold as part of a complete unit.
  • In May 2007, the final report on a trial of solar hot water systems across BC was presented to the government. One of the objectives was to test the potential for solar hot water systems in different communities in B.C. Fifty installations were placed in 17 communities.  The trial produced positive outcomes and a number of recommendations. 
  • Following on the success of this project, an initiative to achieve the goal of having 100,000 solar roofs was launched in October 2006.  So far the only funding that has been allocated has been to the development of a process to work out how to make it happen.  It is expected the first report will go to the Minister in October 2007.
  • The recently (Feb 2007) announced BC Energy Plan envisages establishing a fund which could assist in the uptake of technologies such as solar power.  However, details of when any financial assistance will actually be available have not been released.

Nova Scotia

  • has a Solar Hot Water Rebate programme offering 10% of the total installed price up to a maximum rebate of C$500.  It applies to year-round systems purchased between 12 October 2005 and 31 August 2007.  It supplements the National Government's programme but not for solar photovoltaic systems.

Ontario

  • Owners of residential premises, including multi-residential buildings, can claim a refund of the 8% Retail Sales Tax (provincial sales tax) paid on new solar energy systems and on any expansions or upgrades to existing systems installed in their premises.  Eligible systems include solar photovoltaic systems that convert solar energy into electricity, or solar thermal systems that convert energy into heat (hot water systems).  The refund is currently in place for equipment purchased up to the end of 2009 (extended from 25 November 2007 by the 2007 Ontario Budget).
  • To encourage smaller-scale, distributed generation in Ontario, the government has passed a regulation on net metering to enable homeowners, farms and businesses generating renewable electricity to receive credit for the excess electricity they produce. See Ontario's Standard Offer Program for the requirements and energy buy-back price.

Prince Edward Island

  • has a rebate of PST (retroactive to April 8, 2005) for small-scale renewable energy equipment with a rating of 100 kilowatts or less.  This includes solar power systems for hot water heating and generating electricity.

Quebec

  • has regulated to allow residential customers to get a credit on their bill for any electricity fed to the Hydro-Quebec grid. 
  • For those interested in installing a solar wall to provide space heating to supplement natural gas heating, a $400 grant is available. 
  • Supplementary assistance is available for the installation of home solar heating systems.

Saskatchewan

  • has a green initiatives fund of which one stream is for "assistance to individuals, communities, business, including agricultural producers, in the production of alternative energy and energy conservation that conserves our non-renewable resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions."  There are no details on the government's website as to how or when to apply even though the funding for 2007/08 can be found here.   Best to contact gif@gov.sk.ca

No information is available from the following provinces:

Alberta

Manitoba

New Brunswick

Newfoundland & Labrador

Northwest Territories

Nunavut

Yukon

India 

Indian Flag

UN EP Solar Loans Programme

In the southern Indian state of Karnataka in 2003, the UN Environment Programme began a project with the objective of having 18,000 homes install reliable energy from solar power. 

Using seeding finance to reduce interest on bank loans, the programme began with two banks (Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank), providing loans for the purchase and installation of stand alone photovoltaic solar systems. As of June 2006, over 17,000 loans had been financed, making it one of the largest Solar Home System loan programmes anywhere.

Buyers only have to pay 15% of the cost up front, with five years to pay off the loan.

Because of the success of this venture, other banks have taken up the programme, even without UNEP financial support, and it has now spread to other parts of India. UNEP has used the success of the Indian Solar Loan Programme to expand into other areas, including solar water heating loan programmes now underway in Morocco and Tunisia and others in development for Algeria, Indonesia, Mexico and Chile.

Click for details of the solar loans programme. The banking partners and qualified vendor details are also accessible at the same location.

 

New Zealand

Home Solar Water Heating Programme

A $500 grant for the installation of home solar water heating systems was annouinced on 25 May 2007. The grant is being offered through solar water heating suppliers who meet certain energy performance, price and installation standards.

Energy Conscious Design, Azzuro Solar New Zealand Limited and New Zealand Solar Limited are the first suppliers to join the Government's solar water heating programme.  A number of other suppliers are in the process of joining the scheme.

There is no financial incentive to installing solar photovoltaic systems;, NZ already gets 70% of its energy from renewable sources such as hydro and geothermal. However, NZers are being encouraged to be more efficient in their use of energy and a new website has been established to promote sustainable homes.

 

United Kingdom

After the existing grant scheme was abruptly ended in early 2007, a revised Low Carbon Buildings grant programme for householders was introduced with effect from 29 May 2007.

However, before applying for a grant, householders must undertake a number of energy efficiency measures to ensure they are minimising energy requirements.  The maximum grant permitted is £2,500 for solar photovoltaic systems and £400 for solar thermal hot water systems.  A number of different technologies may be installed at the same property, but the maximum grant will be £2,500.

Household grants will be issued on a first come first served basis as long as funds last. £18 million has been committed from 2006/7 to 2007/8 with "no further funds and no further measures to extend the scheme"

Find all the details and the small print here.

 

United States

The US has a mix of federal, state, utility and local grants and incentives for home solar power systems.  Incentives are also available for a variety of home energy efficiency savings. (Follow the link under "State and Local".)

Federal

Until the end of 2008 the Federal government offers the Residential Solar and Fuel Cell Tax Credit which may provide a tax credit up to $2,000 for the installation of a solar power system. This covers solar water heating, photovoltaics, fuel cells and other solar electric technologies.

The maximum credit is $2,000 for solar electric and solar water heating; $500 per 0.5 kW for fuel cells

The program doesn't specify any eligible system size. Solar water heating property must be certified by SRCC or by comparable entity endorsed by the state. At least half the energy used to heat the dwelling's water must be from solar in order for the solar water heating property expenditures to be eligible.

State and Local

There are such a number of schemes, that it is better that you go to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) which is updated regularly and provides a nationwide database of incentives.

 

Updated 24 August 2007

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