Colin Barnett

Colin Barnett


Richard Court

Richard Court


    State Government offers incentives to use solar hot water systems

    12/01/2001 1:51 PM

    Western Australian households will be given financial incentives to promote the use of solar hot water systems.

    Premier Richard Court and Energy Minister Colin Barnett today announced a $250 incentive for householders who install a new 300-litre system and $400 for householders living outside the South-West electricity grid system.

    Mr Court said the incentive would also be available to householders who replaced old systems with new ones.

    He said the higher incentive of $400 would also apply to households within the South-West electricity system but where reticulated natural gas was unavailable.

    The incentives would help overcome consumer reluctance to buy solar systems because of their higher purchase price despite the ongoing savings over the operating life of a solar system.

    “If the Coalition is re-elected, the scheme will be backdated to today,” Mr Court said.

    Mr Barnett said consumers had to apply for the incentive, which would be paid to the wholesale retailer to get the best price.

    “Solar hot water systems provide clear environmental benefits by replacing energy produced from fossil fuels with clean renewable energy,” he said.

    “The environmental benefits can be measured by reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Mr Barnett said the main competition to solar hot water systems was from electric and gas systems but the environmental benefit was greater if a solar hot water heater replaced electric rather than gas heaters.

    He said a solar system which was gas-boosted accounted for greenhouse emissions of 0.3 tonnes of CO2 a year while one which was boosted by electricity accounted for 1.1 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

    Gas hot water systems emitted about 1.4 tonnes of CO2 and electric systems emit between 4.0 and 4.6 tonnes of CO2.

    Mr Barnett said there were also economic benefits in installing solar hot water systems in off-grid areas of the State because the economic losses in power supply in off-grid areas was reduced by the increased use of solar hot water systems.

    Mr Court said the cost of the Solar Hot Water Incentive Scheme was about $2 million a year rising to $3 million a year as more people took advantage of the incentive.

    He said the cost estimate was based on a target market of some 700,000 households of which 150,000 were either off the electricity grid or not served by reticulated natural gas.

    “The first gain for consumers is the positive contribution they will be making to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the Premier said.

    “Consumers will also be encouraging the further development of solar energy.

    “Western Australia is the world leader in the development and manufacture of solar hot water systems and technical advances continue to be made.

    “About 6,500 systems are sold a year.”

    Mr Barnett said the number of WA households with solar hot water systems was well above the national average - 20 per cent compared to an Australian figure of five per cent.

    He said promoting energy efficiency and applying renewable energy were essential planks of the Coalition’s energy policy.

    Energy conservation through efficient use was a responsibility which had to be shared by both business and households.

    “The limits of the use of fossil fuels and the growing international action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions make the development of renewable energy imperative,” Mr Barnett said.

    “The Coalition Government has a strong record in promoting energy efficiency through the introduction of off-peak electricity tariffs, standardised energy rating for household appliances, energy audits and energy efficiency awards.

    “In renewable energy WA has abundant resources - especially in wind and solar.

    “For renewable energy, the challenge is technical improvement through research and development coupled with the expansion of the market through commercial applications.

    “Research and development and market growth go hand-in-hand.”

    Mr Barnett said much had been achieved under the Coalition including:
    • hydro power developed on the Ord River Dam by private enterprise;
    • Esperance Wind Farm at 10 Mile Lagoon;
    • Development of wind turbines at Denham using unique fly-wheel technology;
    • construction of the $45 million Albany wind farm about to begin;
    • more than 160 applications of various hybrid renewable systems throughout WA;
    • a $5 million biomass project based on mallee trees at Narrogin providing both renewable energy and landcare benefits;
    • Kalbarri photovoltaic project using solar energy to support long lateral power line supplies;
    • solar receptor project at Murdoch University; and -
    • a semi-commercial application of tidal energy planned for the Kimberley.

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