Nelson Solar Saver Scheme

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Nelson City Council took an innovative approach to encouraging greater uptake of solar water heating in their area through the Nelson Solar Saver Scheme. 

The Council paid the upfront cost for the installation of solar hot water systems and residents pay for the system over the next ten years as a targeted rate on their property.  The money saved on their energy bills helped to pay the system off quickly.

In preparation for the increase in uptake of solar water heating, Nelson City Council streamlined its building consent process, and waived the building consent fees to reduce the processing time.

The scheme successfully overcame a range of barriers for consumers including red tape, capital cost and uncertainty regarding the wide variety of different systems available.   Nelson City Council discontinued its Solar Saver scheme in April 2012 in favour of investigating solar photovoltaic technology.  The Council intends to promote and trial photovoltaic technology, installing a system on a Council facility to reduce electricity costs and provide a benchmark for residential and commercial use in Nelson.

Solar Saver was a good example of innovative local authority policy and action bringing about a more sustainable future.  More examples can be found in Beacon’s Resource Manual for Local Government, which pulls together real-life examples of what councils are doing to encourage sustainable building and renovation in their areas.  Read more at:

To find out more about the Nelson Solar Saver Scheme, watch this short video:


Solar panels, Papakowhai


Logo, Nelson City Council