Making solar power a priority

New Solar at Five Dock
Maria Cirillo and Steve Turner

For most Australians moving into a new home, putting solar on the roof is not the number 1 priority. Generally, the cost of moving house leaves households with little spare cash for things that are not needed right now.

Not so for Maria Cirillo and Steve Turner, who moved into their new Five Dock home with their four kids just six weeks ago. 

Even though they’re still unpacking removal boxes, the solar PV system went up late last week through Inner West Community Energy. 

Steve had a small, 1.5 kilowatt, PV system at his last house so he knew the benefits of solar on the roof. 

“That system, even though it was expensive in those days, paid for itself in about seven years,” Steve told us. “And so I’ve seen the  benefits of solar. And with the decreases in costs and the increases in technology, and the ability of solar, I knew the benefits of putting it on here. And so I started planning it from the moment I knew we were going to move.” 

When you see the financial benefits for this big family, you can understand why Steve and Maria put solar in the moving budget from the start. They now have a 6.82 kilowatt system, with 22 QCells panels powering the house through a Fronius Primo 5 kilowatt inverter. It’s estimated the system will cut their power bills by around 70%, so the whole system will pay for itself in only four and a half years. 

Just as importantly, their family’s contribution to the global climate emergency is that their solar panels will avoid burning 3.2 tonnes of coal in NSW power stations. 

Their new home, the first PV system in Five Dock that Inner West Community Energy has facilitated, could not be more perfect for solar: new roof, no shade, faces north. 

Maria, a former deputy director of Solar Citizens, told us – yes, without prompting! – that the work our group’s doing is important because we’re helping inner westies with what can be a difficult decision.  

“Not everyone talks in gigawatts or kilowatts,” Maria said. “People pay attention to their electricity bill but not to what it is that drains the most or what’s going to be the best for them, whereas what you guys do is really, really helpful. It helps to demystify a really complicated process.”

Steve added: “It was great having someone you can trust say ‘this is a good quote for these reasons’. It  gave me a lot of confidence to know you can buy the system because someone who knows has gone through the quote and said tick tick tick.”

If we can help you install solar at your home in the Inner West, our next Solar Information night is in two weeks, on Monday, July 15 at 7pm at the Rose of Australia pub, Erskineville. 

It’ll be a lively, informative evening. Our guest speaker will be Nicky Ison, one of Australia’s leading commentators on renewables and the climate crisis. 

Bookings via our Events page here.

Thanks to our installer Paul Hutt of Brightside Solar and Electrical for the stunning drone shots of Maria and Steve’s new system.

  • Gavin Gilchrist
  • Project Manager 
  • 0407 663 125

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