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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Bligh Government delivers on Solar Hot Water Program Commitment

    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Thursday, October 08, 2009

    Bligh Government delivers on Solar Hot Water Program Commitment

    Installations under the Bligh Government’s Queensland Solar Hot Water Program have begun following the appointment of the Program’s first supplier.

    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Stephen Robertson said the Bligh Government had entered into a Standing Offer Arrangement with Conergy Australia, while negotiations continued with other shortlisted suppliers.

    “This program was an election commitment and this government delivers on its commitments,” Mr Robertson said.

    “We aim to roll out up to 200,000 solar hot water systems over the next three years for just $500 for eligible Queenslanders and $100 for eligible pensioners.

    “Today I visited a family in Windsor to watch the first installation of a solar hot water system under this program and hear first hand the difference their new system will make.

    “Our program can not only save Queenslander’s up to $300 a year on a typical electricity bill but will also contribute to our Toward Q2 goal of reducing Queensland’s carbon footprint by one-third by 2020.

    “This program relies on the Commonwealth’s solar rebate and to be eligible applicants must be able to claim this Federal assistance.

    “This is an important milestone in what will be one of the largest industry transformation projects of its kind in Queensland.

    “This Program is a major industry development initiative designed to help industry meet the future demand that will be created by the phase-out of electric storage hot water systems from 2010.

    “With the first supplier on board, we are now in a position to begin matching successful applicants with installers in their local area,” Mr Robertson said.

    “This program aims to triple the current rate of solar hot water installations in Queensland and share this opportunity for growth across a panel of suppliers.

    “The Invitation to Offer process will be regularly re-opened to provide companies with new opportunities to become involved in the program.

    “The Office of Clean Energy is also investigating ways of linking smaller installation businesses with suppliers to help spread work across the industry.”

    All products installed under the Queensland Solar Hot Water Program are tested and certified as meeting relevant Australian Standards.

    Conergy Australia will provide product warranties on systems installed under the Queensland Solar Hot Water Program and installation guarantees, the same as those offered to customers in the open market.

    “This has been a challenging program to deliver, particularly in an environment where the price of renewable energy certificates have been declining over the past few months,” Mr Robertson said.

    “Whilst Conergy is a small and relatively new company, we hope that by participating in this Scheme it will consolidate and grow its presence here in Queensland.

    “I acknowledge that there may be some risks in going forward with a company of this size however it needs to be appreciated that the large suppliers have to date not chosen to participate in our scheme.

    “It also needs to be appreciated that one of the outcomes we are seeking to achieve is to have a solar hot water industry grow here in Queensland to create new jobs in a future carbon constrained economy.

    “I thank Conergy for their support. It is through their innovation and vision in joining with the government that the solar industry in Queensland has taken another step forward.

    “Meanwhile we are continuing our negotiations with other companies and we are hopeful that more suppliers will be joining our Program soon.”

    Mr Robertson said that over the next few weeks the Office of Clean Energy will contact approved applicants to provide them with the contact details of their supplier and the next steps they need to take.

    “The Office of Clean Energy has already received more than 10,000 completed applications and more than 40,000 registrations of interest from Queenslanders wanting to participate in the program,” he said.

    “The rate of installations will ramp up as we enter into Standing Offer Arrangements with more suppliers, so initially it will be a slow start.

    “Let me make it clear that the Queensland Solar Hot Water Program is targeted at early replacement of electric storage hot water systems in existing homes to help curb greenhouse gas emissions in Queensland.

    “Queenslanders must be eligible for Federal assistance and be willing to reimburse to the Queensland Government the Commonwealth’s $1600 solar hot water rebate.

    “We are only targeting one sector of the Queensland hot water industry—this program is not available for new homes, commercial or emergency replacements, or homes with existing solar or gas hot water systems.”

    Information about the Queensland Solar Hot Water Program is available to download from the Office of Clean Energy website www.cleanenergy.qld.gov.au or by calling the hotline on 132 523 during business hours.

    ENDS

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