Australians looking to the sun for planet-friendly hot water


Renewable energy

Sun-like hot water tap

Credit: Clipart

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Over the next two years, one in every two Australian households will consider making the switch to solar water heating, according to a recent survey.

The Newspoll survey of over 1,060 home owners, commissioned by Solahart, found that 55 per cent were likely to consider solar hot water installation over the next couple of years. If followed through, this would see a significant boom in the number of homes turning to clean, renewable energy, with today only about 8 per cent of Australians households using solar hot water.

The poll suggested that key factors influencing the switch to solar included concern for the environment and the availability of government rebates, though the biggest driver was the impact of current gas and electricity prices, with the majority of Australians expecting up to 20 per cent price increases in the next two years.

Respected environmental expert and G editorial advisory board member Tim Flannery said the results indicating a solar switch were "promising".

"Australians are among the highest greenhouse polluters on a per capita basis in the developed world, caused largely by the burning of fossil fuels for energy. All Australians have a role to play in reducing carbon emissions and it's promising to see that people are keen to take action," he said.

"Electric water heaters are a major contributor to the problem, accounting for roughly a quarter of household energy consumption. By comparison, using a solar water heater saves about three tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year," he added.

Solahart's National Manager, Stephen Cranch, said that the company expects solar water heating to become "a part of everyday life for most Australian households" in the future, and that home owners may even go so far as to move to states where higher government incentives for renewables are on offer.

Cranch said that with a combination of State and Federal rebates, home owners replacing old electric water heaters could receive between $1,600 and $2,800, on top of the value of Renewable Energy Certificates.

"There has never been a better or more affordable time to make the change," he said, and added that the indicated shift was "also good news for Australian workers, as it will create hundreds of new jobs in the industry."