Plumber rides the solar stream

KYOGLE Plumbing Supplies is riding the wave of clean energy on the back of the hot-water rebate.

Since the State and Federal governments introduced the rebate about 18 months ago, the company has increased its workforce from six to 17, owner Mick Thomson said.

“Green jobs are definitely real,” he said. “It's not only my staff but down the line people who are making the valves, the pipes and the delivery people who are getting all the equipment to customers.

“We have people in Lismore making concrete slabs for the base of the system and then you have electricians, plumbers, labourers, and even motor mechanics who fix our vehicles.”

Not bad when recent statistics reveal that more and more people are giving up even looking for work on the Northern Rivers because they can't find any.

Mr Thomson, who was a plumber, purchased the business Garrards Plumbing five years ago, and along with his wife Amber have renamed the thriving operation.

The business now has two divisions: a retail outlet selling everything from water taps to toilet and plumbing.

When Mr Thomson heard about the government's hot-water rebate, he saw it as an opportunity to expand his business, employ more locals and do something to reduce the impact of climate change.

“Over the last two years Kyogle Plumbing has stopped over 4000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere - that is the same as removing 1100 small cars from our roads,” he said.

More than 33,000 rebates have been claimed for hot water heaters since the program began.

“Kyogle is leading the way in rebates but we have installed our systems in homes across the Northern Rivers,” Mr Thomson said.

“There are two systems on the market but the Saxon solar star system stands out from the rest. It has several points of difference: it's Australian made, has a full copper tank inside, and its heating mechanism is separate from the tank which gives more versatility in installation.”

He said the cost of heating water accounts for about 40 per cent of household energy costs and an updated system can reduce this portion of the electricity bill by about 80pc.

With the rebate, a new heat-pump system costs about $885, but once the rebate is removed it will jump to $4500.

To contact Kyogle Plumbing Supplies, phone 6632 1043.

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