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Govt Vote of Confidence for Solar Water Heating

23 May 2004

Government Vote of Confidence for Solar Water Heating

“Government’s increased recognition for solar water heating in its budget is a vote of confidence for all home owners to install a system” said the Chairman of the Solar Industries Association in support of the Government’s increased funding for solar water heating installations.

The Government has announced today that it is doubling to $400,000 the incentive funding for purchasers of solar water heating units.

The Chairman of the Association, Mr Roy Netzer welcomed the Government’s increased support of solar water heating. “This is another example of how the solar water heating industry and government are working together to encourage homeowners to think smart about their sources of energy.”

How the funding for 2004-5 is to be used will depend on an evaluation of the current financial support initiative and other possibilities for promotion. This funding is in addition to other funding being provided by Government through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority for solar industry capacity building.

This year, $200,000 was provided by the Government to support financial assistance to purchase a solar water heater. Accredited suppliers are able to provide financial assistance in the form of loans applied before 30 June 2004.

A Step in the right direction – but is it big enough? Mr Netzer said, “The solar water heating industry has been experiencing a 50-60% annual growth counting by number of systems being installed. Surely more people recognize that using free solar energy is the smart choice and the annual electricity saving pays off the system, however, on the bigger scale, the solar industry need to grow ten folds before it will contribute a significant amount of energy savings to the overall energy balance of New Zealand.” “It is an important step in the right direction, however it is time for the government to consider some bigger steps as are practiced overseas, such as compulsory solar water heaters for new homes. This is currently being done in Victoria Australia in association with their Home Energy Ratings Scheme.

Mr Netzer says solar energy is the smart complement to electricity or gas, not the alternative. “People have wood burners and electric heaters - you don't have to choose one or the other. You can enjoy the best of both worlds. The smart choice is to reduce our reliance on gas or electricity. Less use of fossil fuels means you’re also helping the environment.”

“With the continuing increases in electricity prices, the lack of gas reserves, and the discontinuity to the Aqua project; now is the time to install a solar hot water system.”

“There are now 108 accredited installers around the country who can supply a range of accredited products. Those products are suitable for residential homes, farming and commercial applications such as food outlets where quantities of hot water are required. Systems should be purchased only from suppliers that have met the solar water heating accreditation standards.” said Mr Netzer.

“Solar water heating is a smart choice because it's the natural choice. The sun is naturally hot, so why not use it to heat water and save money? Best of all, you won’t get a solar energy bill!”

ENDS

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