More Annandale Solar

Rooftop Solar PV for Leslie and Scott of Annandale

Leslie Solar and Keith March of Annandale had been thinking about installing solar PV for five years, since their renovations were completed. But they weren’t sure if they were going to stay in the house or downsize until early this year, when they decided to stay put.

So that meant it was time to go solar. Time to contact Inner West Community Energy.

Even though she’s the co-owner and manager of their high-end residential building company, Keith March Constructions, Leslie found it “enormously useful for me to have a knowledgeable community that I could trust”.

“To have you explain things in a basic way, even though I’m in the industry,” Leslie told us. “It’s complicated and it’s hard to get your head around when you don’t understand it. So the fact that you were available and knowledgeable and easy to understand made an enormous difference and having you gave me confidence in the people you recommended.

“I got an independent quote too, because that’s what we do, and I was incredibly impressed by Paul [Hutt, of Brightside Solar and Electrical, an Inner West Community Energy solar installer] as a young tradesman. And we deal with tradies every day of the week. He was neat, tidy, turned up when he said, easy to get on with, again, comprehensible. The price was great. I just thought he was terrific.

“We got a quote from another guy who didn’t even show up. He did it off Google Earth and gave us a general quote. And then he was amazed when I said I didn’t want to do it and I said I thought it was a bit odd that he hadn’t turned up. You need that face-to-face contact.

“I thought having this group was fantastic.”

Keith’s brother is a solar installer so Keith got a few tips on what to look out for in a solar installation. “He was telling me about the strapping off of cables and the tying-off of things and how messy you can leave it,” Keith told us. “And I climbed up there and it was a really neat and organised job.”

Keith and Leslie have a 5.89 kilowatt system comprising 19 Q Cells panels, each 310 watts maximum capacity, with a Solar Edge inverter and 19 optimisers to boost generation when some panels are shaded by nearby trees, plus there’s Solar Analytics to monitor production and generation.

The job was completed in March and now they’re waiting for their first post-solar power bill, when they’ll again turn to Inner West for our advice on the best offer they can get from an electricity retailer.

Leslie and Keith live on a corner block. Across the road there’s another Inner West solar system, and on another corner there’s another new system we had nothing to do with. We just need to do one more and every house on that intersection will be solar powered.

When it is, we’ll get Paul’s drone in the air for some cool shots!

  • Gavin Gilchrist 0407 663 125

100% Renewables is Doable!

Repower workshop group

“100% renewables is 100% doable!” That’s the message five of us from Inner West Community Energy took home loud and clear yesterday after spending the day at UTS learning how to be a Repowering Australia public speaker.

So if you can pull together at least a dozen or so people at work, or a bunch of friends, or people from your football club, services club, choir, mother’s group, whatever, who want to hear a 20 minute talk on how Australia can shift to 100% renewables, Inner West Community Energy can provide the speaker.

Inner West Community Energy chairperson Kathy Bluff, management committee members Susie Coates and Ben Slee, supporter Penny Biggins and I have now been trained on the Repowering Australia campaign.

We can deliver a 20 minute talk, with slides, covering why the shift to renewables is inevitable, how it’s completely realistic, who’s working to stop it, and what we can all do to make it happen.

The best way to think about this is to recall how, a few years back, former US vice president Al Gore went around the world training people how to present his An Inconvenient Truth slideshow. The Repowering Australia campaign is the same idea: train community members on how to give a standard presentation then send them out into the community to do it.

(As it happens, Al Gore will be back in Australia later this week, in Brisbane, doing a fresh round of climate leadership training.)

Yesterday’s training was led by ever-ebullient Nicky Ison, co-founder of the Community Power Agency, and supported by Liz Noble. It was a fantastic day! Try as we might, the group could not find a question NIcky couldn’t answer!

After a federal election result that was such a setback for those supporting action on climate and a just transition to 100% renewables, we all found it heartening to meet a bunch of positive, enthusiastic people wanting to be trained. They came from Brisbane, Maitland, Newcastle and Sydney hungry to learn how to give the talk and spread the 100% renewables word: Famia, Nick, Alicia, Jaz, Jan, Thelma, Belinda, Ella, Natasha and John. As well as the five of us from the Inner West, of course.

If you want us to present the Repowering Australia talk, contact us via the website.

More on the Repower Australia campaign at

Stop Adani Protest Canberra

Stop Adani crowd Parliament House Canberra

As representatives of a pro-renewables community energy group, some of us were in Canberra yesterday to join 5000 or so others outside Parliament House to protest against the Adani coal mine in Queensland and in favour of stronger action on climate change.

Stop Adani Family

Seriously, this mine has to be stopped, and if not by political parties (both the coalition and Labor support it) then it’ll have to be stopped by we, the people. It would be the biggest coal mine in Australia, and it’s next to the (once) Great Barrier Reef. It makes no sense.

This good-humoured rally was the end of Bob Brown’s anti-Adani convoy, which started in Hobart a few weeks back and headed all the way north to the mine site in Queensland and then back to Canberra for what proved to be the biggest political rally of this federal election campaign.

Bob’s message could not have been clearer.

Make this election the climate change election.

“On May 18, less now than two weeks, from now,” Bob told the crowd, “Australians as they walk up the path to the voting booth have this choice: Will you vote for Adani and more coal mines and oil wells in the Great Australian Bight, and gas fracking – $1.5bn supercharged gas fracking [as promised by the ALP]-  or will you vote for life on this planet for our fellow species and for the children, the young people who, with us today, have said: ‘Secure our future.’?

“We can do it. We’ve got renewables, we’ve got love for nature, we have a planet to pass on, and Australia instead of being at the back of the class can be the leader in that – if the people are listened to.”

So, going from the very big picture to the very local, at IWCE we’re doing our bit to make change at a local level. If you’re interesting in installing solar at your house, or just want to understand more about what solar PV and batteries can offer you and your neighbourhood, or want to help us to work towards a community owned power project get in touch with us!

  • Gavin Gilchrist
  • Project Officer
  • 0407 663 125

0407 663 125

More Annandale solar

Meet Max the dog, Suzanne and Tony, happy Annandale owners of the latest solar PV and battery system that Inner West Community Energy has facilitated. They now have a 5.4 kilowatt solar system on their house in Nelson St.

Max the dog with Suzanne and Tony

A 10 kilowatt battery will be going in within a few weeks.

“We’d wanted to do it for years,” Tony says, “but suddenly it was both affordable and sensible, with batteries. We did it for environmental reasons – but, it was affordable. The capital cost was affordable.”

Suzanne says getting help through Inner West Community Energy gave her confidence about the cost of the system and whether the prices offered were sensible, and it saved her doing all the research that would have been necessary for such a significant investment.

Tony says being part of the community energy group was “super”.

“It navigated us through the unknown terrain of getting solar,” he says.

The back of their house gets really hot in summer so they’re now looking forward to running their air conditioning as often as they like without feeling any worries about the cost or environmental impact of drawing power from the grid.

If you’d like help going solar, our next Solar Information Night is tomorrow week, Tuesday, May 7, at Gasoline Pony in Marrickville, starting at 7pm. See our Events page to register.

Gavin Gilchrist

Project Officer

0407 663 125

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.

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.