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Greens To Fund Solar Water Heating Project

28 January 2005

Greens to fund solar water heating project

Green MPs are investing $50,000 in a solar water heating project to enable at least 12 Christchurch families to have solar water heaters in their homes.

Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, who is launching the initiative as part of a speech to sustainable business leaders in Christchurch tonight, said the project would underline the viability of more efficient and environmentally-sound energy sources.

"We are putting our money where our mouth is because we believe solar heating has enormous potential to provide energy services in a way that doesn't threaten our rivers or our climate.

"There are thousands of New Zealand families who would love to have solar water heating, and are willing to pay for it, but don't have the up-front capital. This scheme will provide twelve such families with hot water immediately, and a reasonable arrangement for paying off the solar water heater over six years."

The project is a joint initiative with a Christchurch solar water heating manufacturer, Thermocell, which has invented improved solar heating technology. A founding member of the Solar Industries Association, Thermocell h as a proven track record of success.

The Green Futures Superannuation Fund has already invested in wind power and other sustainable business enterprises, Ms Fitzsimons said.

"We don't just want to encourage environmentally-friendly businesses through fine words. We also want to back them by investing our own money. We see this investment as a way to both support a local, sustainable business in line with our ethical business principles, and help out a group of families keen to pursue solar energy."

Ms Fitzsimons acknowledged that the Government had set up a $400,000 loans scheme to encourage the increased use of solar water heating, but said it had to do much more.

"At the rate the Government is going, it will take hundreds of years to solarise New Zealand. We are challenging it to move faster.

"At present, its SOEs are building more fossil fuel-burning power plants and threatening to dam our few remaining stretches of wild rivers. The Labour Government should instead be investing much more in enabling families to get the benefits of 'free' solar hot water in a few short years, and reducing the country's power demand immediately."


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