28 January 2011 – An Australian solar hot water supplier has reassured consumers that the cuts to green programs announced on Thursday to help pay for the Queensland  floods will not affect the federal government’s solar hot water rebates.

National sales manager for Solahart Stephen Cranch said that eligible households could still claim $1,000 rebate for solar water heaters and $600 for a heat pump.

“All applications will continue to be processed as normal,” Mr Cranch said.

He said changes announced were to the federal government’s renewable energy bonus scheme.

“Confusion has stemmed from yesterday’s announcement that the government will redirect projected surplus funding from the renewable energy bonus scheme as part of the response to the flood disaster,” Mr Cranch said.

“These surplus funds have become available as a result of lower than anticipated levels of demand for the rebate in 2010.

“However, there are adequate resources to support current rebate application levels and provided they remain reasonably stable, eligible households will still be able to access the rebate.”

Mr Cranch also said that greenhouse intensive electric water heaters are due to be phased out across the country from next year.

“If the proposal goes ahead, home-owners needing to replace their hot water system after 2012 will be required to install an environmentally friendly alternative including a solar water heater, heat pump or five star gas water heater.”

“The recent change to the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme should have no negative impact on households planning on making the switch to solar hot water.”

He said he believed the government was still committed to supporting the replace electric hot water systems with environmentally friendly solar water heaters through rebates and other financial incentives such as the small-scale technology certificates, previously known as renewable energy certificates or RECs.

“Of course the rebates won’t be around forever particularly if the demand for solar hot water increases, so home-owners should get in while they can,” he said.

Mr Cranch said electric water heaters accounted for about 25 per cent of a household’s energy use. He Solahart had installed more than 1 million solar hot water systems worldwide.

editorial@thefifthestate.com.au