I invite you to visit also my literary blog: Journeys in Creative Writing where I post original fiction including short stories, poetry and 'Paternity', a full length mystery novel.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Guess who has solar hot water?

From now on I’ll have piping hot showers courtesy of the bright Australian sunshine, and I’ll rarely need to pay a cent for it. There will always be enough for me and a herd of visitors, except occasionally in the depths of winter.
The water was hot enough for a greasy washing up in a few hours after installation, and I’m told that I will need to boost my hot water with electricity only very rarely. Otherwise the sun does all of the work.

It really is nutty to waste the immense benefit of harnessing the power of the big orange ball in the sky.

I could do this because the Australian Rudd Government has set up generous schemes to subsidise householders for solar hot water and electricity, and for roof insulation – all in the cause of reducing climate change and incidentally stimulating the economy.

My two solar collectors on the roof, 315 litre hot water tank and full installation and materials cost me $A1,000 out of pocket expenses as my contribution. The Federal Government is paying $A1,600 and the State NSW Government $A800.

Another Federal scheme which set up renewable energy certificates to encourage the manufacture of energy efficient solar systems further reduced the cost.

It will take a while for me to get back my $A1,000 contribution, depending on how fast energy costs rise, but I’m more than willing for that. I feel I will be helping out the environment and I’ll love the small power bills.

I certainly could not have footed the entire cost by myself, thus I’d have been pumping unnecessary pollution gases into the air for the rest of my life.

I bought roof insulation when I first moved into this house, without subsidies, and it’s been the best. My house is rarely uncomfortable in our hot summers and I never use my old air conditioner.

I’ll think about solar electricity when my wallet recovers from this assault.

Of course, Australia is lucky on the sunny skies front, but solar can be used to break down the use of coal and other polluting power producers in most areas of the globe, at least to an extent. 

I’d be interested to know what’s happening at your place?  Do you use alternative energy sources such as sun and wind? Leave a comment and we can chat. 


  1. Congratulations on your new "green" installation ! And how wonderful that your government is subsidizing this so well for the householders.

    Solar water heaters have been there for a few years, particularly in my hometown, Pune, which doesnt have much rain compared to Mumbai, is extremely hot in summers and has fairly coldish winters. I am not aware of the government subsidizing the solar panels, but what I know they do subsidize , is Solar cookers. Which are like a biggish square black box with mirrors and stuff, which you keep on your terrace, and it cooks your rice and dahl, and even potatoes by high noon. In Mumbai, the government is now insisting that all the new constructions of apartments provide for rain-water harvesting, so that the huge rain in Mumbai can use that water for all non-drinking usage, like gardening and washing etc.

    Its just a drop in the vast ocean of what needs to be done, but its a beginning....

  2. Good to hear from you UGICH.
    Those solar cookers seem to be the way to go! All of the government solar rebates here are for established houses, not new ones. Building design requirements now include many compulsory environmental features.
    One thing, we are least making a start, as you say.
    Owners of older homes in Oz can also install rainwater tanks at subsidised rates as well.

  3. Hi June

    Interesting to hear about the solar power installation. We might move house next year and this will be something for us to think carefully about.

  4. Hi June,

    Great to see you back blogging missus, as usual your blog is interesting and informative! Thanks for reminding me about the presence of that 'yellow or orange ball' you have over there.... hehehe! I'm not sure what colour it is you see 'cos we here in the land of the tartan don't see it very often ...

    I'm glad to hear that your government is sorting things out for Aussie citizens and hope that in the 'NEAR' future 'our lot' will also get involved in things like this. Maybe your government could give us hints what to do to improve 'OUR' thumbprint too!

    The only flippen thing our lot know how to do is make complete prats of themselves and take the pi** at every turn. Oh ta hell... I'm sitting in our house looking out on a really 'dreich' day from my little corner of the spare room .... but guess what - we do now have a lovely new look lounge, hall and stairs .... so that's something !!! the Kitchen is nearly finished too ....

    So let the rain, wind, and snow do it's worst I don't give a monkeys ! It's at least cosy in here and we can afford to get some pressies for everyone so all is well here too!

    Cheers peer, Hugs Kate xxx.

    I think you're right. Power bills will rise very quickly. I'm one of those people who believe global warming could be a big opportunity to begin doing things better generally.

  6. Howdy KATE
    I'm pleased the interior decorating is going well. When the warm times come again you'll both be very organised and ready to enjoy frolicking in the open air again!
    I suppose you lot already have insulation what with the cold and all?

  7. We would really like to do this as well, but for now we are quite mobile and not settled in one place long enough to make it happen. There are a lot of interesting energy saving devices out there, I all for trying them out and not using fossil fuels.

  8. Hi BRENDA
    I am very happy with the way my hot water is performing.
    It's a wonder to me that devices such as windmills have not spread more widely in the past. After all the Dutch proved their worth long ago.
    Australian outback farmers also used wind many years ago, but interested waned. I can't really understand that.

  9. Welcome back June !
    Those panels will serve you well. Up here years ago I planted more than a few decidous trees to shade the home during summer. Their shade has cut down on the cooling costs immensely. I can't imagine living in your intense heat as I need the seasons :) Cheryl

  10. I wish our government would foot part of the bill for solar panels for our house. We don't get as much sunshine as you do but i should think that we could have an extra hot water heatr when ths solar was empty!
    We do have wind farms in this area, I think my neighbors would frown at me installing one in my yard.
    Good for you June from Oz!

  11. Hello PONDERER
    Yes, I love a climate where there is a bit of variation. But I don't know that I could cope with a long winter with snow and ice and no sun ...
    What happens with solar water heaters is that they generally have an electrical booster attached which comes on automatically when the water temperature diminishes too much.
    Here I am told that I will never need the booster in the summer and to switch it off except in the middle of winter.
    By the way Australia is a varied land. Where I live on the coast we have sea breezes and temperatures of about 22-30ish (C) daily maximum in summer. However, we are getting extremes which are becoming much hotter and today apparently Sydney (ten hours driving south) is suffering records into the 40s (C), with bush fires. At present (3.45pm) it's 43C in Sydney and 27C here on the NSW/Queensland border.

  12. Hello PEGGY
    One of those big wind farm whirlygigs would be a bit daunting in the garden! But I've seen residential design shows on television featuring properties with a scaled down version in the backyard doing the job just fine.

  13. Well, we've got our water tank at our place, which is good to save on water, but we've got nothing for electricity yet.......

  14. Ho Raymond
    I'd like to have a water tank too - but one step at a time ...

  15. Hi June, Glad to see you back on here and your new system sounds wonderful. My electric company recently decided to give us a break on the bills if we installed a new thermostat provided by them that saves electric. They will also put some contraption on the hot water heater so they can reduce electricity at certain times during the day when it is not being used.

  16. Congratulations on your new acquisition. Solar heaters are being used extensively in India. But as you mention still expensive and not easily affordable by many. Otherwise we have so much of sunshine, that it can be an ideal way of using the energy and saving on power charges.

    We hear that Australia is having a hot summer - take care.

  17. G'day Judy
    It seems as though there is a gradual movement throughout the world on climate change issues. Not before time eh?

  18. RADHA
    Yep - almost unknown to have 40C in November in my State and that's what a lot of areas are enduring at the moment - and the bushfires have begun already. They say the outlook for summer proper is 'dire'.

    And yet there are climate change skeptics!

  19. I think it's wonderful that your government subsisidized this project....I know if they did here I would go for it. Now they did allow us to claim $1500 on taxes if we spent $10,000 on house repairs.....who can afford that on a fixed income, but at least it is something. Will be interested to hearing from you later informing us about your hot water and if you always had enough.......:-) Hugs

  20. June
    What a great idea!. There have been isolated cases of folks using this method but to my knowledge it has not included government assistance and I have not seen any new instances in our area ( US-in the South-Tennessee)

    Glad to see you writing! Enjoyed
    your post

  21. Congratulations, June,
    On this new idea of saving power and getting hot water. Much needed! We are shivering out here in India!

  22. We haven't had any sun for about six weeks! But we could export some water to you at the moment! Seriously, there is no subsidising of solar panels in the UK and the pay-back time is so long that very few people are installing them. Short-sighted perhaps but that's the way it is.

  23. Hello SMITA
    Solar hot water isn't really new. We have been using it here for many years. However, it's only recently that it has become very obvious how sensible it is to use the power of the sun rather than keep on with the burning of black coal with subsequent pollution of the atmosphere.
    It's certainly 'clean'.

    That's the problem - Solar hot water is costly right now without subsidies. And so we find ways of reducing the cost? There must be a way ...

  25. Hi BERNIE
    So far so very good with the solar hot water. NIL electricity being used right now and stacks of hot water. They say I'll reduce my electricity bills by 20 - 30%. And costs of electricity are bound to rise and with them the benefits.

  26. G'day LINDA. Initial costs are all important of course, but surely these will shrink as benefits are known more widely - even in more wintry countries than ours.

  27. Wow! Congratulations on your panels! Hubby and I would LOVE to go this route. Unfortunately, there are a few other matters to look after before we can do anything similar. Good for you!

    The panels are going well with the electricity off and hot water to burn. Of course it's summer but ...
    I really recommend having a go when you can afford it - even though your weather is not as warm as ours.

  29. June, I applaud you for using the solar panels. And how grand that your government subsidizes the cost. I have many trees around my house and the shade is good in the summer here in the mountains of North Carolina, USA.
    But a solar hot water heater would help.
    I enjoy reading your posts.

  30. Thanks for visiting GLENDA
    It's amazing how sensible it is to take one's garden into account to save energy at home. I have a wonderful hedge of small michelia trees - as high as my house - which shades me from our hot western sun in the afternoons and provides a myriad delicious looking cup-like white flowers as well.
    I rarely put on my air con these days because of them.

  31. This is a great site you have here. I just found it from a friend's page. I have a humor blog as well and I'd like to exchange links with you. This will spread some traffic around between us. Let me know if this is cool.

    HilariousHeadlines TALK

  32. June... I hope all is well. You have not posted for such a long time!

    Thanks for the nice touch. All is well - am just enjoying the break.
    Must do something soon though ...

  34. I love your wisdom and charm here on your page! My mommy has just turned 70 back in Novemeber, but is definitely not as young as you! You must take great care of yourself...awesome! I am all about what ever it takes to keep this world healthy and clean, I have a son that will be here and who knows probably grandchildren eventually!
    Yours in Health,

  35. Happy New Year, June. How is it that there are fewer posts lately? Hope 2010 has more posts!

  36. Hey, June - you've been quiet, hope all is well. A mention for you in my New year's honours list:

    Happy New year

  37. June, I just got here and it appears you aren't blogging anymore. Enjoy the break and hurry back so this 70 year old can see what you do.

  38. It's been a while since you've updated here, June. Hope all is well. Wishing you a very happy new year.

  39. JASON
    Thanks for touching base. I really like to encourage blogs that have original content and create personal meaningful communication between all involved.

  40. Hi Robin
    I do try to take care of myself, but I think being curious and taking part in the world are big contributors to staying 'young'. Mind you I certainly have my ups and dons.

  41. Rhada
    Maybe I will do a post very soon now. I did need a break ...

  42. SID
    Wow! Mentioned in a New Years Honours List. A first for me, that's for sure. Thank you.
    I'm not a cricket fan I'm afraid even though my old dad was a local cricket hero in his Sydney suburb and was apparently sought out for greater things in Don Bradman's day but couldn't afford to keep up with the expenses. All amateurs then.

  43. NORMA
    We 70 year-olds must stick together! But make sure we mix with everyone else as well eh?

    And to you Robin. All is well but busy and I've enjoyed the break. I do feel a post coming on though ...
    I do hope that you two finally settled into a new home and that you're happy.

  45. Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,
    A definite great read…
    anti keylogger

  46. Wow June. Congrats on this installation. I wish Indian Government were also as liberal with the help. There are subsidies on the product but it ends up as very very costly.

  47. Hi Mampi
    I hope that solar systems will become much more affordable for everyone.

  48. Solar heating - wonderful! As Sweden is cold and cloudy, they have other green technologies like geothermal heating.

  49. June
    So glad to see your comments. I am glad all is well with you! Loved the solar post....Made me wish for the courage to do the same

  50. Thanks for touching base Linda. Hop all is well with you too ...

  51. June, it was so nice to hear from you over on my blog. How is the new hot water system working out?

  52. Have you considered using solar power system as an electricity source for your home?

    There are many reasons why you should be using solar power, but here are just the most important ones:

    Solar systems are more efficient then other power sources

    Yes, that is true! By using solar power for your home power supply, you will save up to 85% on your monthly electricity bill. Sun energy is captured through solar panels and converted into electricity which can be used to power your entire home. This is for sure also a great way to save money.

    You reduce your electricity demands

    We need electricity for so many things in our homes; heating, air condition, refrigerators, owens, computers... and when you use solar power panels you remarkably reduce your demands for electricity. This of course has a huge impact on lowering your monthly electricity bill. The more things there are in your home that need power to operate, the more it makes sense to use solar panels as a power source for your home.

    Solar panels do not have a negative effect on the Planet

    This is probably the most important reason why you should consider building solar panels for your home. They do not put off any pollutants such as carbon dioxide, so you don't affect the Earth's atmosphere in a negative way. Instead, you will be doing your part to help save the Earth.

    Solar panels can be put pretty much anywhere

    They can be placed on a lot of places, and when you place them on your roof, you do not see them or even know they are there. If for any reason they can not be placed on the roof you can place them anywhere as long as there is enough sun and no obstacles in the way.

    These are not the only reasons for using solar power for your home electricity supply. If you do a little research you will discover even more reasons.

    If you live in the US, you will find this interesting - you will get paid for implementing solar power in your home.
    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar tax credits are outlined as follows;

    * Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credits
    “Consumers who install solar energy systems (including solar water heating and solar electric systems), small wind systems, geothermal heat pumps, and residential fuel cell and microturbine systems can receive a 30% tax credit for systems placed in service before December 31, 2016; the previous tax credit cap no longer applies.”
    Find out more, visit
    Solar Panel Building

  53. Hi June, oh how I've missed reading your blogs. Its always like a breath of fresh air. I'm working in DR Congo at the moment, in a city called Kisangani. War & all, quite a long tale, but suffice it to say that I don't see these folk worrying about climate change/global warming and the like. Hmmm, might be just as well really, because government sure ain't ready to entertain such yet. Having said that, I did read in one of our organization bulletins that someone had tried to set up some kind of solar plant to power something at the office. I just hope the local people will watch and learn because the organization (being an international body) might not be around for much longer.

    Anyway, yours was a nice read & a reminder for when I do buy my own home. Stay blessed & keep kicking.


  54. Hi Lilly Jones
    Good to hear from you! Yes, everything is relative isn't it? But climate change will affect the poorest of the poor - even more so than most I should think. Sadly.

  55. Hi Clair
    Good to hear from you too! The solar hot water was proving to be wonderful - I didn't even have to go to electricity backup all summer long. Just settling to find out what happened in winter when I found a buyer for my house. The rest is chaos ... Life will settle down soon.

  56. Hi Martha
    I agree about the solar electricity and hope to afford to put one in before too long. I don't generally leave plugs on my site, but this one is a little different, so it stays ...

  57. Hello June, discover your delightful writing when visiting Robyn's blog. I am approaching 70 too and suddenly had this urge to share my love for life on the blogsphere.

    You are welcome to visit me at


  58. G'day Grandpa. Good to meet you and see those great fruit trees on your blog - a scrumptious crop at your farm!

  59. All wonderful i really enjoyed my stay here and wish to come back again... loved all the stuff

  60. While I'm very much against the global-warming scam and government incentives, I do think solar hot-water is a good thing. Solar panels for general electricity are simply uneconomical currently though.

  61. Hi. I'm just a little ways to the North of you, in Indonesia. An American by birth. Nice to meet you.

    We used some solar once, a few years ago, when living in a rural village. The village had no electricity, but our host family had a generator which they would run for a few hours at night. And they had some old, broken solar panels which my hubby got fixed up enough to work for a while. We would use them to power our laptop and a fan when we wanted to work in the middle of the day.

    I love the idea of sustainable energy, but as you point out, it is expensive. I have never had the money to invest in it for myself, also have never owned a home or even been in a very permanent living situation. Currently, we rent. We use a lot of electricity, powering ACs mostly. Our stoves are LPG, however. Our city does have occasional power outages. When these last a long time, we use a generator, but often we just wait it out. Kinda pitiful, but even that feels like a little bit of "doing our part."


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