AHV solar hot water install

Crowdfunding solar hot water for Aboriginal Housing Victoria

Families struggling on low incomes and the environment are beginning to benefit from an innovative crowdfunding campaign to install solar hot systems in housing supported by organisations such as the Father Bob Maguire Foundation, Aboriginal Housing Victoria and Common Equity … Continue reading Crowdfunding solar hot water for Aboriginal Housing Victoria

RET Road Trip #7 – Blue seats and renewable energy

Group Brighton

Published at Renew Economy.

In the last week of May, Friends of the Earth visited solar homeowners in affluent bayside suburb of Brighton East.

We had previously visited Victoria’s leading solar suburbs of Werribee, Hoppers Crossing and Point Cook. Our trip to Brighton East was to get a sense of what people in a long-standing Liberal seat think of the Warbuton Review and Australia’s energy future.

It turns out that there isn’t really any difference between the two. Like the residents of Melbourne’s western suburbs, the people we spoke with in the seat of Goldstein – the seat held by senior cabinet minister, Andrew Robb – see renewables as the future. The people we spoke with don’t want politicians to weaken the Renewable Energy Target.

Upon arriving at the Coats household in Brighton East we were presented with the inverter and a quick briefing on how much electricity the rooftop solar set up had produced to date.

InverterThe Coats’ 1.5kW solar energy system has made the home a suburban a clean energy power station. For the past five years, it has covered all of the household’s electricity needs.

“It’s fantastic knowing that we never have to worry about another electricity bill. In fact, our energy company owes us,” said Mrs Coats. “It also gives us a lot of pleasure to know that we’re producing our own clean energy and feeding it back into the grid for other people to use.”

Every solar homeowner I meet has an immense pride about their solar system. There’s a sense of achievement in generating your own energy and acting to address climate change. And, let’s not forget the power bill that is now perpetually in credit.

There are an estimated 2,792 solar homes in the seat of Goldstein. Solar has delivered $1.56 million worth of savings on power bills to those who have panels. In the wake of the Victorian government’s decision to reduce the feed-in tariff for solar, the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) is the next best support mechanism for those with solar aspirations. Continue reading “RET Road Trip #7 – Blue seats and renewable energy”

RET Road Trip #5 – Warburton review threatens solar future

RRRT6 group shot
Yes 2 Renewables are out meeting with Australians to discuss how renewables are benefitting them – Why isn’t Warbo?

Published at Renew Economy.

On Friday May 16, Friends of the Earth’s fact-finding RET Review Road Trip visited Victoria’s leading solar suburbs—Hoppers Crossing, Werribee and Point Cook.

What did we find? In a nutshell: The suburbs get it. Solar is viewed as an indispensible new technology that is cutting power bills.

The Renewable Energy Target and other state-based incentives have helped homeowners in Hoppers Crossing, Werribee and Point Cook install a 8,052 solar photovoltaic systems and 14,213 solar hot water systems on their roofs.

One such homeowner is Coralee Klement, a retiree and Werribee resident. Coralee’s 8.3kW solar energy system has made the suburban home clean energy power station. It currently covers all of her energy bills, except for a small gas bill in winter.

“We couldn’t afford not to do it,” Carolee told us. “Electricity bills were getting too expensive. Even in winter we’re in credit with the energy company.”

“We went solar as an investment,” explains Ms Klement. “My super was getting a limited return and dwindling because of fees. The solar system has delivered a good return on investment as well as the environmental benefit to the community.”

RRRT6 Coralee, Chris, panels
Carolee explains to her neighbour how rooftop solar has cut her power bill.

The rooftop solar revolution has seen Australians install a massive 3.2 gigawatts of solar power spread over 1.3 millions homes. More than 3 million people now live in a home that generates clean electricity. If you’re looking for a metric for public support for the Renewable Energy target, this is it.

The solar suburbs have set their sights high. They have ambitions beyond intermittent generation. Solar homeowners like Carolee see the credit on their power bill and want to use it to save money on transport fuel costs.

“Once battery storage is available we’d voluntarily take ourselves off grid,” said Carolee. “We’d like to get an electric car one day to do away with the petrol costs.”

It’s this ambition that governments ignore at their peril. Continue reading “RET Road Trip #5 – Warburton review threatens solar future”

Australia’s 5 million “solar heroes”


The original article was published by Reneweconomy on 10th March 2014 and written by .

The 5 million people with Solar PV and/or Solar hot water systems are helping lower the cost of electricity, and create jobs, according to this graphic released by Australian Solar Council. Continue reading “Australia’s 5 million “solar heroes””

Green jobs push in the Latrobe Valley

p8120518It goes without saying that Australia’s transition from polluting fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy sources will reshape the economy. Local towns on the frontline of  fossil fuel extraction and power generation will undergo dramatic changes. In Victoria, towns in Latrobe Valley are starting to adapt to a future without the coal industry.

While some will see the demise of coal as a problem, others see it as an opportunity. As Winston Churchill wisely noted, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

The Earthworker cooperative is a perfect example of Churchill’s thinking in action. The coalition of unions, environment groups and church groups intends to build a solar hot water manufacturing plant in the Latrobe Valley. The coop seeks to create an economic opportunity for the region as it winds down the coal sector.  Continue reading “Green jobs push in the Latrobe Valley”

Manufacturing co-op to “work our way out of the climate emergency”

August 11: Over a hundred community supporters, environmentalists and trade unionists assembled on the steps of Trades Hall in Melbourne to launch the 100,ooo Australians campaign. A project of the Earthworker co-operative, the campaign is seeking to build a cooperatively owned solar hot water system factory in Morwell. The project is hoping for 100,000 Australians to join the Earthworker Cooperative at $20 per member to raise the $2 million needed for the “Eureka’s Future” factory machinery, fit-out and finish in Morwell. The factory is to produce the Everlast tank, solar collectors and associated components, a unit which Earthworker explains is … Continue reading Manufacturing co-op to “work our way out of the climate emergency”

re-visiting the base-load myth

This recent piece by Mark Diesendorf, who is the Deputy Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies, UNSW, is certainly worth a read, and does a great job of de-bunking one of the perennial arguments brought up by those opposed to wind energy. the base-load myth “To every complex problem there is a simplistic response, which is usually wrong. For instance, to the challenge of generating all of Australia’s electricity from renewable energy, the deniers repeatedly utter the simplistic myth that renewable energy is intermittent and therefore cannot generate base-load (that is, 24-hour) power. However, detailed computer simulations, backed up … Continue reading re-visiting the base-load myth