Standing Room Only at Gasoline Pony.

It was standing room only in the rear courtyard of Gasoline Pony wine bar in Marrickville last night for our biggest EVER Solar Information Night!

We had 52 attendees hungry for information about how we can help them go solar at home, which is almost twice the number at our last info night at The Royal Hotel in Leichhardt, last month.

And due to popular demand, that’s why we’re doing it all again, on Tuesday, May 7. Same venue, same time, 7pm.

Dr Penny Crossley speaks, Gasoline Pony, March 26th

Last night we had a great scene-setting speech from Dr Penelope Crossley of the University of Sydney Law School, who explained how there are now 113 countries who have national renewable energy laws, and that Australia’s renewable energy law – which drives the national renewable energy target that provides rebates for household solar PV – is unique in having environmental benefits listed as the only reason for the Act. In most other countries, far more than one reason is nominated to justify government policy that drives the transition to renewable energy faster, reasons such as improving energy security, job creation, driving innovation, diversifying energy supplies, and reducing fuel imports.

Because Australia’s renewable energy law is justified on such narrow grounds, Dr Crossley told us, it has made the law far more susceptible to political attack… as we have indeed seen for many years.

Supporters of renewable energy need to remember the multiple benefits of pushing the energy transition faster.

After her talk, we then explained to the crowd how Inner West Community Energy could help them go solar, and with our preferred installers Roland Lawrence and Paul Hutt we answered everyone’s questions about going solar.

We’re now processing all the requests for help from last night’s attendees .

Thanks so much to Fiona and her team at Gasoline Pony for  helping make the night such a success, and to IWCE supporter and Marrickville local Sandra Kingston for suggesting the venue in the first place.

An enthusiastic audience at Gasoline Pony for our 5th Go Solar Event.

If you’d like to join us for the next event, on May 7, hit the Events page here. https://www.facebook.com/events/2071768529526061/

Any questions, call Gavin Gilchrist , Project Manager IWCE, 0407 663 125

Help With Going Solar

Sonja and Howard with sons Lincoln (left) and Manning (right)

Sonja and Howard of View St, Annandale, had been thinking about installing solar for many years, but as busy professional people they’d found the whole process confusing and difficult to navigate.

By the time they came along to one of Inner West Community Energy’s Solar Information Nights last year they already had five quotes!

Now, with our support, they’ve got a 3.3 kilowatt system on the roof at the rear of their house, running through microinverters, installed to maximise power generation despite a fair bit of shading on the roof.

They reckon it would have taken them another 18 months to make a decision if not for Inner West Community Energy. They say they found our process helpful, trustworthy and easy.

And why did they go solar? They felt it was the right thing to do.

If you’d like help installing solar, our next Solar Information Night (tonight) is booked out but we’re holding another on Tuesday, May 7, again at Gasoline Pony in Marrickville Rd, Marrickville. See our Events page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/pg/innerwestcommunityenergy/events/?ref=page_internal

State Election Climate Policies

We’ve had a hectic time organizing our next Solar Information Night . It’s on Tuesday 26th, 7pm at Gasoline Pony in Marrickville (It will be our biggest ever with only 3 seats left, as of now! See our Face Book Events page for details.) But we’d also like to take this chance to update our supporters with the key energy and climate policies for this Saturday’s election.

Here’s a summary of the offers of the three major parties, courtesy of John Grimes from the Smart Energy Council, the industry group that represents the solar and storage industry.

(And don’t be deceived by The Sydney Morning Herald’s “State Election Environment Guide” today. The Liberals have listed the Climate Change Fund as their signature climate initiative: that was set up 12 years ago by Labor.)

NSW Labor Party

The biggest proposed rollout of renewable energy in Australian history;

  • 7 gigawatts of large-scale renewables by 2030 – 6GW by reverse auction, 1 GW through a new State-owned corporation with 4GW in first term of government;
  • 500,000 new solar homes by 2030, delivered through a $2,200 subsidy;
  • $100 million Solar Schools package for solar on more than 350 schools;
  • $11 million to train electricians in solar and battery storage;
  • 100% renewables for all State Government agencies by 2025;
  • At least 50% renewables by 2030.

NSW Liberal Party

  • No interest loans for solar and battery storage for 300,000 homes. This includes loans over 10 years of up to $9,000 for a battery system and up to $14,000 for a solar-battery system. This is a good initiative;
  • Making it easier for strata committees to approve solar panels and batteries for apartment blocks by lowering the voting threshold from 75% to 50%;
  • An extra $20 million to the Emerging Energy Program, encouraging private-sector
    investment in large-scale electricity and storage projects;
  • $10 million for a new recycling fund for solar panels and battery systems.

NSW Greens Party

Establish a new publicly owned electricity company to generate, distribute and retail renewable energy;

  • $1 billion to support local community renewable projects and $1.5 billion a year in large-scale, publicly owned renewables projects;
  • Rebates for more than one million households to install solar panels and battery storage.
  • Gavin Gilchrist 0407 663 125

IWCE joins the Climate Strike along with our latest home solar client.

IWCE Chair Kathy Bluff and Member Franny Cowap in Hyde Park for the climate strike

Members of Inner West Community Energy joined thousands of students and others at the huge Climate Change Rally in Sydney on Friday.

One of the faces amongst the many thousands was Marjan, owner of the first solar PV system to be installed from our latest round of solar sales.

Marjan’s goddaughter Nicki, took part with her class-mates from Hornsby. Nicki is third from the right in the top row.

Marjan, of Day St, Leichhardt, now has 12 solar panels on her roof, with a maximum capacity of 3.72 kilowatts, being fed into her house through a Solar Edge inverter with power optimisers to boost output due to a bit of shading from nearby trees and buildings – a common issue here in the Inner West.

Marjan had been thinking about going solar for quite some time but had always hesitated. She came to our Solar Information Night at the Royal Hotel in Leichhardt on February 11 and was convinced she had all the information and support needed to just do it.

In five weeks we got it done.

“I’ve been wanting to do it for a while but I’ve always thought it’s too small a house,” Marjan told us. “I’m very careful with my electricity so I thought I don’t use enough to make it worth my while until I went to the meeting at the Royal and I realised that it is worth my while.

“I have seven grandchildren and I’m doing it for them more than for myself. But it’s nice to earn a bit of money. I said to them all: ‘I’ve bought you a present! I’ve bought you all a solar panel and it’s going to be on my roof!’.

“I feel very strongly about this. It’s for the future of this planet.”

Marjan really appreciated the help Inner West Community Energy offered.

“It was fantastic. Really helpful. Because it is a little bit complicated when you start with very little knowledge. And so that meeting really kept me going. It made me go. It made me move. It made me realise that there are people there to help you in particular with finding good people to do the panels – because I’ve heard about people who scam you. That’s what stopped me doing it, too.

“It’s been a really positive experience and I’m really glad I went with it.”

Gavin Gilchrist : 0407 663 125


Going Solar at Dulwich Hill

Jenny Pidcock and Peter Wilkins outside their Denison St house.

It’s taken us a while to pin these two down for a photo but here they are. Jenny Pidcock and Peter Wilkins of Denison St, Dulwich Hill, came to our second Solar Information Night in February last year, held at one of our favourite solar-powered pubs, The Three Weeds in Rozelle.

They can’t recall how they heard about the night and nor can we, but they liked the idea of going solar through a community energy group and they went ahead with a system that was well-sized for their modest needs, a 1.98 kilowatt system with Canadian Solar panels and Fronius inverter.

Thanks for your support, Peter and Jenny.

We have another Solar Information Night coming up on Tuesday, March 26 at the Gasoline Pony in Marrickville. It’ll be our biggest ever as it’s almost booked out.

See our events page here. https://www.facebook.com/events/993458004184471/

  • Gavin Gilchrist 0407 663 125


To tilt or not to tilt?

When you’re ordering solar PV for your roof, is it better to have them flat on the roof or on a tilt-frame, pointing towards the sun?

I was on the roof of a house in Trafalgar St, Annandale, last week, cleaning the 10-year-old panels of an early solar adopter who was unable to climb a ladder herself.

The eight 295-watt Sunpower panels were in excellent condition but they did need a clean, as you can see from the colour of my cleaning cloth!

These panels were on a tilt frame.

I would argue there are four reasons why it’s better to have solar panels tilted towards the sun rather than flat on the roof. (Which direction you point them is another issue, but generally installers point them north at the sun, or north and west to generate more power in the afternoon.)

First, if your panels are on an angle towards the sun they generate more power than if they’re flat.

Second, if they’re tilted they will stay cleaner because when it rains the water will flow off the panels faster, making them self-cleaning.

Third, if the panels are on a tilt frame there’s more air circulating around them, so the panels won’t get so hot. Cooler panels generate more power.

Fourth, and this is rather subjective, I think having panels tilted towards the sun looks better. To me, pointing your panels towards the sun highlights the fact that we’re connecting with the sun’s light to generate energy, and we want to harness every last drop of sunshine. I think they look cool.

There are times when it’s not possible to put solar panels on a tilt frame, such as when the roof space is limited and your can’t space out the panels as is required to minimise shading when they’re on a frame.

Oh, and if you’re a solar household and you’re wandering around the Bunnings cleaning section and you see the product they have that’s marketed as something specifically to clean solar panels, don’t waste your money. Warm water (don’t put cold water on hot panels; indeed don’t do this job in the middle of the day) is all you need. Solar panel manufacturers urge us not to use any chemicals as they can damage the seals and the protective coating on the glass. ashing liquid with a soft cloth are all you need. Don’t use a scourer.

Gavin Gilchrist

0407 663 125

Clean Panels!

Solar information night goes off!

Our latest residential solar promotion kicked off with a bang on Monday night with a packed meeting room at the Royal Hotel in Leichhardt.

Hands up for solar!

This was Inner West Community Energy’s fourth Solar Information Night, and without doubt it was our most successful, with around two dozen households taking the first step towards going solar by inviting one of our preferred solar installers to make a site visit to their homes to come up with a design and a quote.

Our keynote speaker was Nicky Ison, one of Australia’s leading commentators on renewables, energy efficiency and community energy and an Inner Westie herself. (You can read her most recent piece in The Guardian here.)

Nicky Ison with IWCE chairperson Kathy Bluff

Nicky told us there were four reasons Australia no longer needed to make a choice between dirty electricity from coal and clean energy from renewables.

First, the economics of renewables now stack up. The cheapest form of new generation is now wind or solar, backed up by batteries or pumped hydro. The CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operators both say so.

Second, our coal-fired power stations are ageing. They need to be replaced anyway.

Third, Australia has amongst the best renewables resources in the world “It’s not called the sunburnt country for nothing,” she told us. Our competitive advantage is now in clean energy.

Fourth, Australians love renewables. We have the highest per capita household installations in the world. The US, she said, has one million solar homes; Australia has two million.

At Inner West Community Energy we’re working harder than ever to build the number of solar homes in your community. We need to increase the number of houses with solar by around three times to reach the percentage of homes with solar in much of country NSW.

If you know of anyone who wants to go solar, message us via Messenger, text me, or go to our website to send us a message. We’ve had a lot of those the past few weeks!

Thanks again to Nicky Ison and the Royal Hotel staff for making Monday such an enjoyable and productive event.

Gavin Gilchrist Project Manager 0407 663 125