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Electrifying your home? Here’s a guide on the available subsidies

Millions of households need to upgrade their homes, luckily help is available.

Millions of households need to upgrade their homes, luckily help is available. Photo: AAP

Millions of Australian households are going to need to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes in the coming decades as the nation attempts to achieve net zero emissions.

But with research showing that out of pocket costs can stretch into the thousands for switching from gas to electric, it can be difficult for families to cover the cost, particularly amid the cost of living crisis.

Luckily, there are a variety of state and territory government subsidy programs that can help take the sting out of the upfront cost so you can reap the rewards of bill savings much sooner.

Here’s a guide to what subsidies are available in states and territories that are incentivising electrification – NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and ACT.

Nationwide

Not every state and territory has its own dedicated program providing subsidies for energy upgrades, but there are a few national programs that apply to all households in Australia.

The most significant is the small-scale renewable energy scheme, which reduces the cost of everything from solar panels to heat pumps and even small wind systems.

This program works through approved providers, so basically if you’re a household you’ll want to make sure whichever company you do business with can access these discounts.

These discounts can be applied alongside other state or territory based rebates in some circumstances, so make sure to ask if you’re eligible for multiple discounts before buying.

Western Australia does not have any active energy upgrade subsidies currently, but it does provide incentives for households to receive energy coaching services.

New South Wales

Households in New South Wales (NSW) can access rebates for upgrading the energy efficiency of their homes under the Energy Savings Scheme, which first launched all the way back in 2009.

The program works through providers of air conditioners, hot water systems, other household pumps and even LED lighting; effectively subsidising them to supply goods at reduced cost.

These companies are known as Accredited Certificate Providers (ACPs), so households should look out for this status when shopping for new systems – they’ll have the lowest prices.

Other schemes available for NSW households include:

  • Low-income households can access free 3 kilowatt solar systems, via application
  • Households in select council areas on the South Coast can get discounts on solar and battery systems through the SolarHub virtual power plant grant, launched in 2021
  • NSW residents in social housing projects will soon be eligible for subsidies on electric systems (airconditioners, heat pumps, solar panels, etc.) under a $206 million scheme. The NSW government has confirmed that applications will open later this year.

Victoria

Victoria provides rebates and discounts on energy upgrades through a scheme of accredited providers under its Victorian Energy Upgrades program.

You can find an accredited provider on the Essential Services Commission website here.

Additionally, rebates worth up to 50 per cent (capped at $1000) are available on application for households switching their hot water systems, though there are some eligibility criteria.

Households in Victoria can also apply for rebates on solar and battery installation or a loan to help cover the upfront costs.

South Australia

South Australia provides incentives to households for energy upgrades through its Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS).

This program works through retailers and providers, so families need to make sure they’re shopping with an accredited provider to access discounts.

Incentives under the scheme range from discounts, free products, rebates and vouchers.

Approved products range from upgrading hot water systems to double-glazing windows, a full list of what’s covered can be accessed here.

Northern Territory

The NT government offers grants of up to $6000 to home owners who want to install approved battery systems, via application. It can also be used for solar panel purchases.

Applications can be made through the government run GrantsNT website.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Canberrans have access to some of the most extensive electrification incentives nationwide.

The Home Energy Support Program, for example, provides rebates up to $5000 for home owners installing energy efficient products, including heating, cooling, pumps, stove tops and insulation.

Similarly, loans up to $10,000 are available from the government for household energy upgrades.

Eligibility criteria apply in both cases, for more information about applying, see the guidance.

Tasmania

In Tasmania households can access an energy saver loan from the government that can range from $500 to $10,000 on a three-year term.

Applications for the zero interest loan can be made through Brighte.

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