Inner West Community Energy in the news!

We’ve been celebrating a great response to yesterday’s article in The Sydney Morning Herald about residential solar installations going nuts across Australia, and the work we’ve been doing to help Inner Westies go solar in our community.

My favourite response was from Jalal in Croydon Park who first wrote yesterday seeking advice in preparation to go solar in the next 12-24 months… but today he’s written saying he’s done more research and wants to go solar before Christmas!

Hmmm… Jalal, we’ll see what we can do but as the article said, there’s a solar boom happening and our preferred installers are pretty busy. Weather permitting, we’ll do our best.

You can see SMH Environment Editor Peter Hannam’s article here:…/records-falling-everywhere-solar-p….

Group photo
IWCE celebrating at Wayward

We are now members of the Nature Conservation Council.

Inner West Community Energy today attended its first meeting as a new member of the Nature Conservation Council.

Gav with Daisy

Along with other new members such as Climate Action Monaro, Low Carbon Living Southern Highlands, The Wilderness Society and seven other local green groups we were there for the Annual General Meeting of the NCC.

The NSW Coalition government, Labor and the Greens were invited but only Labor and the Greens could find the time to attend this once-a-year meeting of NSW’s peak environment organisation.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley got top billing, of course, given he’s the alternative Premier. It’s a tough gig being a state opposition leader, as it’s hard to get much media coverage, but for those who rate the environment a high priority in the March state election, I left feeling Foley at least understood the issues.

He was Labor environment spokesperson before the became the leader, he clearly personally rates the environment an important issue, and he knows all the major players. He should be getting good advice and he gave the impression today that he listens.

Gav with Luke Foley

We’re a pro-renewables community group so we were tuned for any big announcements there. Sadly, nothing much today. But Foley did say he would have a lot more to say about renewable energy before the election. “We’ve got big ambitions,” he told the NCC crowd. He also said the future for NSW’s energy system was not the clapped-out Liddell coal-fired power station. “That’s just nonsense,” he said.

And while he wouldn’t give anything away on ALP policy on renewables, noting if he had done so today the news would get lost amongst the royal visit and the Wentworth by-election, he did point out it was ALP party policy for the next Labor Government to establish a state-owned renewable energy company.

Tonight, with Kerryn Phelps’ win in Wentworth, and Foley’s comments today, the outlook for stronger action in NSW and nationally in favour of renewables and a safer climate is looking a little brighter.

We’ll keep pushing forward in the Inner West. We have another two big solar PV systems being completed this coming week, one in Ashfield, the other in Balmain.

– Gavin Gilchrist, project manager

We attended Spark! 2 Day Clean Energy Conference, Melbourne.

Here are three things I learnt last week at the “Spark!” two-day clean energy conference organised by the Moreland Energy Foundation in Melbourne:

First, community energy is booming. Nine years ago when the Community Power Agency reviewed the state of community energy in Australia there were three groups operating (in Denmark, WA; Bega; and Daylesford, Vic) but no operational energy projects. Today, there are 105 community energy groups (of which Inner West Community Energy, of course, is one) and they’ve delivered 80 community energy projects.

Second, many of us in communities around Australia are mad as hell at the lack of government action on climate, and that’s a major factor driving the growth of community energy. We see the need to shift to renewables and more comfortable, more energy-efficient homes, and away from coal. So we’re simply getting on with the job ourselves. That’s the sentiment from community energy groups everywhere.

Third, many community energy groups understand the need to put the “community” back into the energy sector. Taking action to promote residential solar and community-owned solar, and helping low-income households with their power bills, can all help to strengthen a local community. That’s something everyone wants.

Gavin Gilchrist, 23rd September, 2018 Contact: 0407 663 125

Community Energy Conference
Gavin Gilchrist + Alison Rowe, CEO of the Moreland Energy Foundation,.


Another Solar PV installation

Annandale St July 9 9


Another new solar PV installation completed for Marilyn and Tom in Annandale.

Annandale St July 9 8

Roland, Alex and Blair from Roland Lawrence Electrical worked through a few challenges to get this one finished last Friday and Roland took some cool shots with his drone to show off the results..

                                                Annandale st July 9 6




Our latest solar PV installation

By Gavin Gilchrist June 19th 2018

Here’s our latest solar PV installation, at Suzy Carter and Mark Lucas’ house in Edith St, Leichhardt. Now, this one was a real challenge, and perhaps that’s why this was the third time Suzy and Mark had tried to get solar installed. On two previous occasions, the installer had abandoned them.

Suzy and Mark are both active members of our community. Suzy runs Hero Frock Hire and Mark is the former chairman of Petersham Bowling Club, and the instigator of its live music program.

blake under PANELS 2
Blake Newport of Roland Lawrence Electrical

The house has a complicated roof-line, with dormer windows and a large section of roof sloping south, the wrong way for solar. Our preferred installer, Roland Lawrence Electrical, addressed that problem by cranking up the tilt frame structure to the max, which is why his crew member Blake Newport can be seen here working away comfortably right underneath the panels.

It’s a 3.6kw system using Trina panels and SMA inverter, plus two Tijo optimisers to better manage a bit of shading. And it’s another one added to the Inner West Community Energy fleet through Solar Analytics.

We’re really proud of this one. We’ve got solar on to a really complicated Inner West roof that stumped two previous installers.

So we reckon if we can do this one, we can do anything you can throw at us!

Mark says: “After two failed attempts at installing solar panels since 2013, we were very pleased to work with Gavin at Inner West Community Energy & Roland at Roland Lawrence Electrical. In reviewing our energy needs and the challenges, on site communication was excellent, we were kept well informed at all stages and the system was up & running very quickly. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the service to anyone else considering installing solar in the inner west.”

With the system next door, this is Leichhardt’s new solar PV corner.

A neat new installation

Published by Gavin Gilchrist · 29 May at 13:19 ·

Here’s one of our neatest installations yet, at James and Maureen’s place in Summer Hill.

We’ve addressed one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of more solar PV in the Inner West: the challenge of installing cutting-edge modern energy technology on heritage housing.

This challenge is one of the reasons solar PV has had such a poor uptake in our community, and it’s one we’re working to address, house by house.

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Here you see two meter boxes. The one on the right is the original one containing the electricity meter and circuit breakers.

The one on the left is a new one, adopted by our solar installer Roland Lawrence Electrical, containing the new inverter. He cut a hole in the top and bottom of the metal case to ensure adequate ventilation. Inverters like to stay cool.

As the new box sits on the wall by the front door, it was important to James and Maureen that it sat unobtrusively next to the existing meter box.

I think that’s been achieved exceptionally well.