The axing of the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme rebate could make it difficult for many people to afford solar hot water, says the Alternative Technology Association (ATA).

Damien Moyse, the ATA energy projects and policy manager, said the Federal Government needed to ensure solar hot water and heat pump systems remained a viable option for Australian households.

Climate change parliamentary secretary Mark Dreyfus yesterday suddenly scrapped the scheme, which provided a $1000 rebate for solar hot water systems and $600 for heat pumps. It was due to end this year.

The government has previously committed to phasing out electric hot water systems nationally and replacing them with more energy efficient gas and solar systems. Mr Moyse said it should continue that commitment.

”The government needs to ensure that removing this rebate will not slow down the transition of households from inefficient electric storage systems to greenhouse-friendly solar hot water or heat pumps,” he said.

”The economics therefore need to stack up to continue to provide consumers this option when swapping out of an old electric storage system.

”Solar hot water and heat pumps need to remain affordable.”

The ATA is a consumer-based not-for-profit organization promoting renewable energy, sustainable building design and water saving.