The sun shines on us all

51005188 – project of a house in 3d sketch

I am always on the look-out for ways my clients can either make money, get given money or reduce tax – preferably in a risk-free way.

Solar Power systems are moving onto the roofs of Australian households at an exponential rate. Every day you can see numerous adverts from solar panel providers in the print media and television. Australians are embracing solar power and there is good reason for this.

As part of its ‘Solar Credits Program’ the government is contributing about 75% to the cost of solar systems. This means that homeowners can get up to $6,300 off the price of a system. Generally an $8,000 asset costs the homeowner around $2,500. What makes this especially attractive to my clients is that it is not means tested so no matter what your income is you are eligible for it. It is not even limited to one per family, so if you have an investment property you can get the subsidy a second, or a third time. You can even get the rebate for your business premises.

This will all change on 1 July 2011. Over the next few years there will about a 25% reduction per year in what the government pays, so time is a factor if you want to maximise the amount from the federal government.

Now, getting something …anything… from the government is always a good thing, especially for my clients who normally get nothing, however there are other advantages. State governments have legislated that power utility companies must buy any surplus power generated from solar systems. If no power is being used during the daytime then the power that the solar systems generate are sold back to the ‘grid’. So not only will your power bill reduce by having solar power, but you will potentially make money from it.

The other advantage, and the reason the State and Federal governments are supporting solar power so much is that it is good for the environment. The more power that comes from the sun means less power needs to come from coal stations. Hence, by installing a solar power system you are directly reducing how much power is being generated from power stations. Sure, there are alternative methods you can help the environment – solar hot water systems and wind energy are good. But in terms of getting something from the government, nothing beats solar panels at the moment.

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