HOT DEMAND: Solar hot water consultant Ian Thomson, of Ecosmart Solar Hot Water, says his company is struggling to keep up with the demand from local residents wanting to take advantage of generous Federal and State government ‘green’ rebates for new solar hot water systems.
HOT DEMAND: Solar hot water consultant Ian Thomson, of Ecosmart Solar Hot Water, says his company is struggling to keep up with the demand from local residents wanting to take advantage of generous Federal and State government ‘green’ rebates for new solar hot water systems. Jay Cronan

Demand for green rebates red hot

IAN THOMSON, of Wollongbar, is taking at least six calls a day from customers wanting to install solar hot water systems.

“I'm already booked out this week,” he said.

While the government rebate offers have many Northern Rivers residents confused about what they can and can't claim for from the State and Federal governments, businesses can barely keep up with the demand.

Mr Thomson works for Jaye Bolte, of EcoSmart, who is rushing to keep up with demand.

“Last Friday we had eight calls. They said they saw our ad in the Echo and the Advocate,” Ms Bolte said.

She estimates 25 new customers have called since last Thursday, when The Northern Star published a 28-page feature on government rebates for water and energy upgrades.

Wayne Randell, from JH Williams in Lismore, can't get enough batts for roof insulations.

“Fibreglass installation batts are sold before we get them. They are being imported from America because Australian manufacturers can't keep up with the demand,” he said.

Kyogle has topped the list for the most rebates per capita, and regional areas continue to take up the 10 top spots in the uptake of government rebates across Australia, according to government figures.

Northern Rivers residents are obviously keen to 'green' their homes.

“It is important to understand that you can only obtain the Federal rebate for either changing from an electric hot water system to a solar, or roofing insulation, not both,” Ms Bolte said.

A 'blip' in the system could be the price drop in renewable energy certificates (RECs), which will affect the profit margin for businesses selling and installing 'green' products.

For example, when you purchase a hot water system, you are given REC points. The more energy-saving the product, the more REC points you get. These point are given to the business you bought your hot water system from and come off the total price of the product.

“Today each REC is worth 34 points, but when the sharemarket drops the REC points drop. We expect them to drop to 29 points by next Tuesday,” Ms Bolte said.

For the keen and green customers of the Northern Rivers it could mean prices increase in the next few weeks.



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