28/01/2009 - 22:00

Rebates lift solar uptake

28/01/2009 - 22:00

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WESTERN Australia has experienced a significant increase in the use of solar hot water, with more than one-fifth of homes in WA now fitted with solar hot water systems.

WESTERN Australia has experienced a significant increase in the use of solar hot water, with more than one-fifth of homes in WA now fitted with solar hot water systems.

More than 180,000 households, or about 21.5 per cent of all homes in WA, used solar water heating in 2008, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The numbers indicate a significant turnaround in the use of solar hot water systems in recent years.

In 1992, 24 per cent of homes in Perth used solar hot water systems. This dropped to a low between 2002 and 2005 when installations were only around 14 per cent of households in Perth.

WA Sustainable Energy Association chief executive Ray Wills told WA Business News that federal government rebates and a growing awareness of climate change had encouraged growth in the take-up of solar hot water systems.

"The sector is seeing renewed growth, particularly as a result of consumer concern over greenhouse gas emissions coupled with government incentives for the installation of solar hot water, as well as a way of dealing with growing energy bills by heating water with free solar energy," Dr Wills said.

Households outside the city have a greater uptake, with 31.4 per cent of homes outside of Perth using solar, while only 18.5 per cent of homes in the city have solar hot water systems installed.

The federal government offers rebates of up to $1,000 for the installation of solar and heat pump hot water systems to replace electric storage hot water systems.

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