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New Solar Grants leave manufacturers in the Dark

New Solar Grants leave manufacturers in the Dark

The $1000 solar water heating grants scheme recently upgraded from $500 by the Government has the potential to adversely impact profitability of new emerging solar water heating technologies which are excluded says David Senn, Managing Director of Econergy Limited.

Econergy Limited distributes Super Efficient Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWH) in New Zealand. A local innovation, Econergy® water heaters save households about 67% off their water heating bills by utilizing solar heat from the air, giving comparable savings to a high quality electric boosted conventional solar water heater. Other companies including Rheem and Hot Water Heat Pumps Ltd are also established manufacturers of domestic water heating heat pumps.

In essence, HPWH are a form of solar water heating as they extract free energy from the solar heat in the air surrounding the house. The Energy and Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) confirms this technical opinion on their solar water heating website

Typical installed unit costs for HPWH the market are $4000- $6000 making the technology comparable cost wise to a solar water heating system.

So, the efficiency is comparable, and the cost….then why are HPWH units not eligible for solar water heating grants? David and other manufacturers have dialogued with the government for the last 12 months to find how the grants can be extended to cover HPWH’s.

But now the $1000 solar subsidy is making his product uncompetitive compared with conventional solar panel systems. “A subsidy will need to come soon”, says David, “or we may be forced out of business”.


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