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Solar Water Heating Industry Newsletter

11 July 2004

Solar Water Heating Industry Newsletter

A newsletter for building professionals and others interested in developments within the New Zealand solar water heating industry. The newsletter is prepared when we feel that we have something to say but probably on a quarterly basis. You have been sent a copy as you have indicated a professional interest in solar water heating, or your name has come to our attention through industry activities. Please advise us if you do not wish to receive future editions.

Notes from the Chair of the Solar Industries Association The solar water heating industry has been expanding its installation capability in order to meet a continuing growth in demand. There are now 109 supplier approved installers throughout New Zealand. The 10 accredited suppliers have been developing their networks of installers and most are now able to supply systems in most areas of the country.

A requirement of accreditation is that suppliers have adequate installer training procedures and quality systems that will assist ensure that installers know what they are doing and are able to handle all aspects of installation. Accredited suppliers also have to be able to show that they have adequate technical support for those unusual or difficult installations. When an installation goes wrong the Association looks to the supplier to assist the installer to put it right.

The Association has a complaints procedure which the public are able to utilise if they are not satisfied with an installation. In the last three years there have been few complaints received. Those received have all related to installation and not the product which is why the accreditation focuses on installation training and support.

The industry will this coming year focus further on improving installation skills with the introduction of an installation course at the Waikato Institute of Technology.

These industry initiatives to address installation issues have been recognised by the Government which has increased funding for the industry for the coming year.

Cheers Roy Netzer Chairman Solar Industries Association

Growth Target The industry has adopted a new target of 30,000 m2 of new collector installation per year. An area target has been adopted rather than a target based on number of installations as there are now a number of larger commercial installations occurring. Area is a better measure of energy contribution from solar energy. In 2003 there was 5400 m2 of collectors installed. Industry Growth The area of SWH installations as reported monthly by suppliers has continued to grow for another successive year. Analysis of this data shows that during the year 2003 the growth of collector area installed increased by 66% over the previous year. Through 2004 to the end of May the collector area installed has increased further by 35% but indications are that it will continue at about the 40-50% level.

Around 50% of solar systems installed in New Zealand are pumped systems with the rest based on thermosiphon principles.

50% of systems are installed in the Auckland/ Northland/ Waikato/ Bay of Plenty region, 15% in the Taranaki/ Central North Island/ Gisborne region, 8% in the Southern North Island, and 27% in the South Island.

EECA Funded SWH Finance Assistance Programme During February - June 2004 EECA has been funding a SWH finance assistance scheme. This followed and built on a pilot bid-in programme funded in 2003. The pilot programme provided a lot of useful information on such schemes and was used to develop the current scheme.

The current scheme is based on the Government funding the equivalent of the first years interest for a loan taken out to purchase and install a SWH system. Suppliers have developed their own loan arrangements and offer the finance assistance as part of their portfolio of purchase options available.

Because of demand the current scheme has just been extended for sales until the end of September. 50% of sales during May utilised the scheme.

Further Government Funding The Government announced in the June Budget that they were allocating a further $200,000 for SWH initiative schemes. No decision has been made on how this money is to be spent.

In addition EECA will be providing additional funding for promotion, management of the Association, and a number of industry capability building initiatives.

The industry works in close partnership with EECA and is pleased that the continuing growth of the industry reinforces the value for the Government’s investment.

Solar Water Heating Training The Waikato Institute of Technology have now completed their plans on the establishment of a training course leading to a Certificate for SWH Installation. The first course will be available by September 2004, with two further courses to be commenced before the end of 2004.

The course will be a mixture of distance self learning and hands on experience. The details of the course will be made available in the next Newsletter.

SWH Energy Performance Measures The SIA is currently completing investigation of the appropriate methodology for measuring the energy efficiency of SWH systems. The current proposal is to use the international mathematical modelling approach rather than methodologies that require extensive field testing of each model of system. The mathematical modelling approach requires a single testing and then this can be applied to different climatic areas and for different hot water applications.

SIA is currently obtaining the relevant climatic data so that test parameters can be set for NZ conditions.

Code of Practice The Code of Practice for Manufacture and Installation of SWH Systems available from the website has again being revised. The Code is a continually evolving document and SIA welcomes comment on its adequacy and its usefulness. There have been a number of new additions to the Code and all building practitioners are encouraged to review this latest edition. Specific new areas are; Building consents Producer Statements Hot pipes Freezing Integration of technical standards

Discussions have also been had with staff of the Building Industry Authority on how the Code could integrate with the Building Code.

All installers of SWH systems are expected to use the Code to ensure that they are aware of installation requirements expected by the industry.

Building Consents SIA has been investigating how to standardise and limit the requirements for building consents for SWH installations. SIA is proposing that consents be based on the acceptance by Councils of Producer Statements signed by the installers. A model Producer Statement has been included in the latest revision of the Code of Practice.

SIA Website a Hit The SIA website continues to be the main means of providing information on SWH to potential purchasers and building professionals. If there are topics you would like further information on please contact the Executive Officer.

ENDS

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