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Solar hot water systems
Price: Around $2,000 extra
Verdict: A long-term investment
Water heating represents nearly a third of the average household's energy use. Solar hot water systems use free energy from the sun to heat water, instead of gas or electricity.
These reduced energy costs can save the average family $200 to 300 each year, making solar hot water an investment that pays for itself around 6 to 10 years, less if energy prices rise.
The Commonwealth Government's Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) scheme and government rebate programs in Victoria, NSW, SA, WA and the ACT offer incentives that can reduce the net cost of solar hot water, making it much more affordable.