Savings from solar switch

EMMA WHITTAKER
Last updated 10:52 04/05/2012
Solar Switch

HEATING UP: Mayor Len Brown with Tony Morpeth, left, Ruth MacClure and their daughters Maya and Alia at the launch of the Auckland Solar Project at their Pt Chevalier home.

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Solar is the way to go says the family that has become the face of Auckland Council's new renewable energy scheme.

This week mayor Len Brown launched the Auckland Solar Project at the Pt Chevalier home of Tony Morpeth, Ruth MacClure and their two daughters.

It will see more than 250 solar hot water heating systems installed in homes and businesses across the city by the end of the year.

Project manager Damon Birchfield says the scheme is about making it simpler for people to make the change to the alternative power source.

The quality of solar water heating technology varies greatly and not all are suited to Auckland's environment.

Mr Birchfield says the systems on offer through the scheme have been thoroughly researched and are optimal for use in Auckland.

"There are a lot of technologies out there and it is potentially confusing. Hopefully this will make is easy."

The council has also made the process for getting consent to install the systems more straightforward.

Mr Morpeth says his family has saved around 20 to 30 per cent on its power bills since installing one of the systems in August.

"We've changed some of our habits to make the best use of hot water and we haven't been through a winter yet but what we've saved on our power bill is basically what we put on our loan," he says."Everyone's investment will be different but for us it's been cost neutral."

The pilot project will run for a year and may continue, depending on its success.

The mayor says the solar project is a significant step towards reducing the city's carbon footprint and preserving its power requirements.

"It ticks all the boxes in terms of being a sustainable eco city," he says.

North Shore company Solar Group has been charged with managing the programme and will cover the whole process from the consent application to installation for customers.

No direct financial assistance is offered by the council, but Solar Group is offering loans in conjunction with the National and ANZ banks.

Visit aucklandsolar.co.nz for more information.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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