ENERGY

Solar water heating good for environment and families

Thursday 26 July 2012, 1:49PM
By Green Party
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The Green Party is challenging the key findings of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's report on solar water heating, saying that solar is good for the environment and families.

"Solar power has a key role to play in water heating. It helps the environment and helps families keep their power bills down," said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

"This report has done solar water heating a disservice. What the report actually shows is that even in the middle of winter solar water heating reduces electricity use for heating water by around 50 percent, and over a year reduces it by 70 percent.

"The fact is solar hot water heating does contribute to reducing electricity peaks in winter.

"Solar water heating is not the sole solution to reducing fossil fuel use and dealing with winter power spikes, but it is part of the answer.

"The more people that use solar water heating, the less need there is for carbon emitting fossil fuel or other renewable sources to heat our water.

"Solar power does reduce consumers' power bills and reduces their overall electricity use - and that is a very good thing.

"If we want to get serious about dealing with winter peak power the Government should restore the grants it cut for solar water heating in the 2012 budget and extend grants to cover other efficient water heating devices.

"We agree with the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment that we need to take the pressure of winter peak electricity use and support the recommendation to investigate better load control and demand management. But we don't need to turn our back on solar water heating in doing that.

"We should be actively promoting all renewable energy options that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and save families money," Mr Hughes said.