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Solar water heating increasing in NZ - Mallard

26 May 2005

Solar water heating increasing in NZ - Mallard

More people will be able to get help to buy solar water heating units after a funding increase for a finance assistance scheme, Energy Minister Trevor Mallard said at the opening of New Zealand's largest commercial solar water heating system today.

"Under the scheme, people can get interest free loans to buy and install solar water heating. Since it started, the scheme has proved to be very successful. Funding for 2005-06 will increase to $400,000, compared to $200,000 when the full scheme started in 2003-04," Trevor Mallard said.

Trevor Mallard today opened New Zealand’s largest commercial solar water heating unit, at the YMCA Camp Adair near Auckland.

"This installation represents a significant development within the New Zealand solar industry. Most installations of solar water heaters to date in New Zealand have been in homes but an important goal has been to develop the commercial market as well.

"The Camp Adair system is a practical example of the New Zealand solar industry's growing capability to expand into the larger-scale commercial solar heating market.

"Not only is this also good news for energy efficiency, but solar water heating also has significant potential to reduce electricity demand. What's more, it is a viable option for homes and businesses.

"The Camp Adair solar water heaters will save approximately 100,000kWh per year, and prevent the emission of more than 60 tonnes of CO2 per year. The installation is not only an impressive engineering project, but also an educational opportunity for the many visitors at YMCA Camp Adair to learn about the benefits of solar water heating," Trevor Mallard said.

"Under the financial assistance scheme, money can be borrowed on an interest free basis to pay for the purchase and installation of a system. The goal is to see 10,000 residential systems installed by about 2008. Already we've seen numbers jump from 1055 solar systems in 2002 to 2343 systems being installed last year. This year we are forecasting that around 3500 solar systems will be installed in homes."

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) administers the finance scheme, promotes solar water heating and assists with industry standards, working closely with the Solar Industry Association.

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