Mayor happy council is in hot water

ALL it takes sometimes is a bit of a nudge for people to do the right thing.

That is why Byron Shire Council came up with the Community Solar Hot Water Campaign.

The campaign was so successful that 95 people made the switch to solar in two months, and now the council is looking at expanding its program to include other councils.

Brian Grebert, from Quality Solar and Plumbing, installed about 20 systems as a result of the initiative and said it was a good way to increase awareness of solar hot water.

“It's a pretty good way to do things. It puts a lot of information in one place for people interested in buying,” he said.

“It basically created a bit of a price war among the solar dealers, which is good for the consumer.”

Mayor Jan Barham said the program linked residents up with State and Federal Government rebates and discounts from local providers.

“It's a one-stop shop. It's good for the local producer and supplier, they're getting a rush of business in one area and the support of council in getting that information out,” she said.

“Sometimes people need that bit of a nudge. What we've created is a model that will now go out to other councils and our sustainability officer will be working with regional councils who have shown an interest.”

Cr Barham said the solar hot water campaign was an action delivered under the council's Greenhouse Action Strategy.

“I am pleased to announce that the Byron Shire Community Solar Hot Water Campaign resulted in an annual reduction of about 380 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions - the equivalent to taking around 100 cars off the road,” she said.

The council's website says water heating takes up 40 per cent of a household's energy bill and that switching to solar hot water can cut water bills by 90 per cent, saving about $300 a year.

A solar hot water system, subsidised by Government rebates and supplier discounts, can pay for itself after three years.

Byron Council wants to use this model of linking up funding opportunities and provider discounts with residents to promote the conversion to other environmentally friendly options, such as installing water tanks and solar panels.

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