Although I don’t expect much support from the New Zealand government regarding funding and support to transition to a low carbon economy due to a bad track record on climate change action, lack of policies and effective strategies I thought it still a useful exercise to see if there is any funding, subsidy, tax deduction or other incentives available for the build of our sustainable home.
As expected I didn’t find much that would be of any support for our home. Sadly enough New Zealand does support the oil and gas industry by providing tax breaks and funding research in exploration of gas and oil (New Zealand received the Fossil award of the day at the 2015 Paris Climate negotiations since New Zealand’s fossil fuel production subsidies have increased seven-fold since Key’s election in 2008).
That aside below are a few areas I explored for financial aid for home insulation, feed in tariffs and other support.
There are no central government incentives to assist consumers or businesses in New Zealand to implement onsite renewable energy generation like solar. While other countries have mandated feed-in tariffs as a way to encourage take-up of renewable power, in New Zealand it’s up to the individual power companies to decide what they want to pay you.
On the website of Mysolarquote there is an overview of the different solar power buy back rates from energy providers. They are mostly the same with 7 or 8 ct /kWh so nothing close to the consumer price of electricity (we pay around $ 25ct /kWh excl. GST). PV panel prices however keep dropping so even without any incentives it starts to make financial sense, besides the obvious environmental benefits, to use solar energy. Especially if we can use most of the solar energy in our home at the time it is generated by smart regulation of our hot water heater and charging our electric vehicle if we are at home.
For existing homes there are grants through Warm Up New Zealand for ceiling and underfloor insulation for rental properties occupied by low-income tenants. The recently changed Residential Tenancies Act requires landlords to insulate residential rental homes. A good thing but both are not applicable for our new home.
Local council support:
Some local councils have payment options to help you with the cost of installing insulation and heating. The EECA and smart energy solutions website are a good source of information about which councils have these options but generally they are the bigger cities in New Zealand. For example Auckland council provides loans to Auckland ratepayers to be paid back in rates with an interest rate of 6.6% (versus around 19% at a bank) for home insulation, clean heating, mechanical extraction of air, fire place removal and some water related interventions.
Also several banks have options to include sustainability measures into the mortgage or provide loans. Kiwi bank has a sustainable energy loan where you can top up your home loan with the sustainable energy loan. If you’re borrowing more than $5,000, Kiwibank will contribute up to $2,000 over four years.
For us even without any available subsidies it is definitely worth the investment to build an energy efficient home to keep our future costs down and live in a well insulated, comfortable, healthy home with a low environmental impact.
For more information some useful websites: