This week, as the nation batons down the hatches to shield itself from the ravages of winter’s fury, there is a ray of sunshine piercing the grey and blustery vista. And where else but from than the solar capital of Aotearoa – Nelson.
The launch of Solar Promise - the brain child of Nelson City Council, Nelson Environment Centre and Solar City – is an inspiring initiative. It aims to get other councils, the Government, individuals, organisations and businesses throughout the country to do what they can to make solar more affordable for more New Zealanders. And the premise is simple.
In a world which is increasingly bound by the need to reduce carbon emissions to tackle climate change, and with energy security fast becoming the staple of global political diets, this nationwide campaign is about future proofing New Zealand against the harshest impacts of oil scarcity and rising fuel bills. And the direct benefits should not to be understated.
If New Zealand was able to put solar hot water systems onto 90% of homes, as Israel has already done, then Kiwis would save over half a billion dollars and prevent 450,000 tonnes of carbon entering the atmosphere every single year.
The Solar Promise is the type of community based approach that allows us all to be part of the solution building blocks of a cleaner, smarter New Zealand as we take those vital steps to wean ourselves off our dependence on the fossil fuels of yesteryear. And in doing so, we can build a more resilient economy, shaped and strengthened by our home grown renewable know-how. It is already starting to advantage those communities who are taking part.
For example, Nelson’s Solar Saver Scheme drove down the cost of solar in the region by 20% by waiving resource consent fees for solar installation and creating $5 million of inward investment into the local economy. In such lean financial times, that is a huge saving for all involved and testament to the type of benefit moving to a cleaner way of powering our homes and businesses will bring us as a nation.
So this is why Greenpeace will join others such as WWF, Meridian Energy, Kiwibank, and Wellington and Dunedin City Councils and ask our supporters to get involved and back the scheme. To make your Solar Promise, follow the link and tell your local council that you too want to be part of a smarter, energy secure New Zealand.