INDEPENDENT NEWS

Bright ideas fund for energy efficient hot water

Published: Fri 2 Nov 2007 10:38 AM
Bright ideas fund for energy efficient hot water
An Innovation Fund to encourage smart innovations that will lead to the uptake of solar water heating and heat pump water heating technologies was launched today by Jeanette Fitzsimmons, Government Spokesperson on Energy Efficiency and Conservation.
Under the new fund EECA will contribute up to 50 percent of the cost of an approved project, with a maximum grant of $100,000. Funds will be allocated in several contestable rounds. The first round of applications is being called during November.
"The Innovation Fund is there to promote fresh thinking and cutting edge approaches to generating hot water that will contribute towards a more sustainable, energy efficient New Zealand," Ms Fitzsimmons said.
"We're seeking to support new and bright ideas that will encourage more and wider use of solar and heat pump water heater technologies."
Only projects that are not already covered by any of EECA's other funding schemes are eligible.
Projects can fall under one of three categories:
- Solar water heating projects that will result in the installation of a large number of solar water heating systems, or provide industry information to support commercial decision-making; or - Heat pump water heating projects to encourage the uptake or to gather information and performance data on the technology towards further this developing industry; or - Other innovative projects to demonstrate original approaches to improving solar water heating or heat pump water heating technology and uptake.
In the November round, preference will be given to projects that have commercial applications, although subsequent rounds may have a different focus. A second round of applications is expected to take place in March-April 2008.
Irrespective of the size of the project, applications are sought from a diverse range of public or private sector organisations. This could include; energy retailers and generators or line companies; water heating industry participants; local government authorities; community and charitable trusts; education organisations; design professionals or individuals.
"It is very exciting to think of what might emerge from the applications and the potential that the successful projects may have on advancing the future of the solar water heating sector and energy efficiency in New Zealand. It would be terrific if projects assisted through the Fund went on to make a significant impact on the lives of all New Zealanders."
The launch of the Innovation Fund is part of the progressive roll-out of the Government's $15.5 million solar water heating programme resulting from its cooperation agreement with the Green Party. It forms part of its broad approach to promoting sustainability, energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
What is the intention of the Innovation Fund? The Fund is intended to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, and new approaches and strategies for delivering projects in the solar water heating and heat pump water heating sectors. In addition, the purpose is to assist the heat pump water heating industry to develop knowledge, quality systems and best practice.
Who can apply? Projects that are intended to be undertaken in New Zealand by people ordinarily resident in New Zealand.
Who is not eligible for the Innovation Fund? The Fund is not available to home-owners for one-off domestic installations.
Who will evaluate the applications? An evaluation panel made up of EECA representatives and independent people with relevant industry competencies; using a consistent scoring criteria and process across all applications.
Why are other energy efficient hot water technologies not included? The purpose of the Innovation Fund is to support solar water heating systems and heat pump water heating systems. It is proposed that other efficient hot water technologies may be considered in future once a review has been undertaken in September 2009.
What are the other EECA funding schemes? Solar Water Heating Programme finance schemes: Grants and loans - offers homeowners a $500 grant or $500 contribution towards a loan, to install a solar water heating package by an industry accredited supplier. Volume build grants - available to volume builders who commit to install a solar water heating system in at least 20 new homes. Grants for public sector organisations - to undertake a feasibility study and/or install solar water heating systems in a government-owned building.
How to apply: Apply through EECA's request for proposal process. Email solarfinance@eeca.govt.nz or phone 0800 762 7837. More details and information can be found on www.energywise.govt.nz/solar.
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