Solar water heating grant to double under National

Saturday 29 March 2008, 12:41PM
By Nick Smith

A future National Government would introduce a $1,000 per household solar water heating grant and simplify the complex building consent rules for solar water heating in order to double the number of systems, says National's Climate Change spokesman, Nick Smith.

"Solar water heating is the sort of practical environmental initiative that National will back. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves energy, and reduces consumer power bills.

"This is a step that the average family can take to make a difference to address climate change. Each system will save 1.5 tonnes of carbon per year, 2,800 kWhr of electricity and $400 in power bills.

"This policy change proposed by National is needed to untangle the red tape imposed on the solar water heating industry by Labour and the Greens.

"It is ironic that in the very year in which Labour's top theme is sustainability and climate change, its policies have caused the first recorded drop in solar installations."

The $15.5 million Government policy announcement in November 2006, 'Switch on the Sunshine', promised to increase the number of installations by 20,000 but the complex requirements of the scheme have resulted in not one grant being made.

"New Zealand cannot be a world leader on climate change when, on practical measures like solar water heating, we are a long way behind countries like Australia, China, Japan and Europe.

"National policy is to increase the grant to $1,000 per household, to simplify the grant approval scheme and to replace the need for a building consent with a requirement for a ten year warranty. National would require all systems to be installed by an accredited supplier.

"We are budgeting to double the number of installations to 9,000 per year and to double the total number of systems in New Zealand from 35,000 to 70,000 over 5 years."