Solar Energy Supported in the South
We in the South may be battling the worrying side effects of the rapid expansion of the dairy industry and are being threatened with losing the Mataura Valley to open cast lignite mining, but the Southland sun will soon be shining on some more sustainable activity.
Venture Southland, together with the three southern councils have instigated the first region wide, solar energy pilot. Solar Energy is something the Green Party has always promoted and even managed to get a centrally funded subsidy to support take up. However the initiative was not as successful as we would have wished, for a variety of reasons; the cost of the units were prohibitive because the market was relatively small; there weren't enough fully trained installers and many initial installations were poorly done which didn't help the promotion.
The southern scheme already looks to be highly successful, with minimal advertising it has attracted lots of interest and the company that is providing the systems has a good track record and reliable chinese and New Zealand made units that have been well tested in southern locations. A 75% reduction in annual water heating costs is considered to be very achievable.
As we were intending to replace our aging hot water cylinder anyway, we jumped at this opportunity. We have had an initial consultation and it looks as though the total cost will be around $5,000. We looked at how long we intended to continue living in our present house, the potential resale value it would have with such a system in place, and thought it was worth the investment.