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Energy solution in broad daylight

7 May, 2003
Energy solution in broad daylight

Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said the Government should look to the heavens to help solve the energy crisis - and she's not talking about praying for rain.

"Now is the time to invest in solar water heating and I call on Minister Pete Hodgson to get the ball rolling by offering a solar heating installation subsidy to households and businesses which would see them saving far more than the 10 per cent target in energy this winter," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"A household with electric hot water could expect to save a quarter of its total power consumption over a year and 15 to 18 per cent during the winter months with a suitable, competent solar installation."

"A good installation could earn as much as 15 per cent a year on the capital invested and for householders that is all tax-free, unlike investing in banks, and it will go on saving power for at least 20 years.

"Solar water heating can be even more cost effective for businesses like motels and farm dairy sheds.

"More immediately, if the hot water is turned off by the power companies, solar users won't suffer from cold showers.

Ms Fitzsimons said a large scale Government tender to install units in all suitable public sector buildings over five years was important to allow the solar industry to build production capacity and train more installers.

She will question the Minister in the house today over his dismissal of solar water heating as a significant contribution to saving energy.

"The Government's Renewable Energy Strategy has set a target of 10,000 units installed every year, yet there has been little progress on this.

"Given the potential of this neglected opportunity I cannot understand why Minister Pete Hodgson said in the house last week 'when one starts to do the arithmetic one finds that they are not usually useful'. He needs to think again."

"The public sector must take the lead with a widespread installation programme in suitable buildings like hospitals, state houses and school swimming pools.

"Government power consumption would be significantly reduced and the solar industry can begin to operate on a cost-effective economy of scale."


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