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Potential for solar energy in NZ huge says EECA

Monday 6 September 2004

Potential for solar energy in NZ huge says EECA

Solar water heating has huge potential for energy savings for households and businesses but how much this is realised depends on New Zealanders’ acceptance and understanding of solar as a renewable energy source said Heather Staley, Chief Executive of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

“In the long term solar heating is both cheaper and a renewable source of energy which is better for the environment.

“Water heating consumes up to 45 percent of household electricity. Initial installation costs vary, but start at about $3000. Once installed, solar heating can save a household $350-$450 per year.

“If every household in New Zealand had solar water heating it would reduce demand for electricity annually by more than the amount of electricity used by Christchurch City.”

More than 22,000 homes in New Zealand currently have solar heating. The Solar Industry Association Industry has set itself an annual target of 10,000 homes and EECA is working with the industry to help them achieve that goal.

“It is encouraging that in the last 12 months around 1800 new solar water heating systems have been installed in homes around New Zealand. This is an increase of around 50% on the previous year.”

To date the Government has allocated more than $400,000 in grants to promote solar water heating as an option.

People wanting more information on solar heating as an option should visit the Solar Industry Association website www.solarindustries.org.nz or www.solarsmarter.org.nz.

ENDS

EECA is implementing the Government’s National Energy Efficiency and Conservation strategy and working to improve New Zealanders’ energy choices.

Information about EECA and renewable energy can be found on www.eeca.govt.nz.

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