THE first of more than 140 solar systems has been installed as part of a collective community bid to produce more sustainable energy in sunshine-rich central Victoria.
The Strathfieldsaye Community Enterprise and Bendigo Sustainability Group have united to create collective bargaining power in purchasing Photovoltaic systems and have met widespread interest across the city.
Bendigo Sustainability Group committee member Colin Lambie said the initial installation cost of about $13,000 was one of the major barriers for people looking at installing solar power.
But he said the discount and collective energy of the groups had provided a great avenue for interest in central Victorian solar installation
“Most people out there understand quite clearly the environmental situation, what they want to know is how they can do something themselves in their own home.’’
He said the collective discount, combined with the Federal Government rebate of $8000, meant 1kw systems could cost as little as $3000 – with a net feed in tariff into the grid they could pay for themselves in about ten years.
Strathfieldsaye resident Jim McGregor, who had one of the first PV systems installed this week, said he had started off with solar orientation of his house and then added a rainwater tank and a solar hot water heater to meet a five star rating.
He said the idea of linking into the grid and harnessing Bendigo’s abundant sunshine seemed a natural step for Victorian solar installation.
“We thought ‘why not try and make it as sustainable as possible and go that extra step?’’’
The groups aim to have solar power systems installed in one percent of Bendigo homes.