Blog

New system in Marrickville

Sandra Kingston
A new solar system for the Kingston family in Marrickville

Sandra Kingston of Marrickville is a life insurance assistant technical manager who lives here in Marrickville with sons Zeke, 16 and Elijah, 14.

On her roof she’s now got a 6.2kw system comprising 20 QCells 310 watt panels, driving a 5kw Fronius inverter, with Solar Analytics keeping an eye on performance..

She came to Inner West Community Energy in early October, looking for some guidance on getting a good system installed by a reputable solar installer. She’d done a lot of research using Choice and she’d run through their checklist, but the companies she asked to quote didn’t want to visit her house before quoting, and she just didn’t have a level of comfort from dealing with them over the phone.

Through Inner West Community Energy, she completed the Customer Data Form we use as our first step, on October 22. She accepted the quote from one of our preferred installers, Brightside Solar and Electrical, on November 5, and had the system installed on December 10 and 11.

So from the time she contacted us to installation was just over two months, which is pretty typical for our group.

Her primary reason for going solar was simply that “solar makes sense”. “I want to harness the energy from the sun,” Sandra says. “It seems such a waste not to.”

There are now more than two million households in Australia with solar on the roof, according to a report last week from the Clean Energy Council. On average there are now six solar panels a minute going on to the roofs of Australia.

“Queensland continues to lead the nation in rooftop solar, with four of the nation’s top five solar postcodes hailing from the Sunshine State,” the Council said.

“Bundaberg in central Queensland topped the list for the highest number of households with solar power, followed by Mandurah in Western Australia, then three other Queensland locations: Hervey Bay, Caloundra and Toowoomba.”

Sydney’s Inner West has one of the lowest rates of solar PV use in Australia. Under 10 per cent of households around here have solar, compared to many parts of Australia now with over 30%.

At Inner West Community Energy, we’re doing what we can to help lift that figure.

If you want to go solar but don’t know where to start, contact us. Or if you can’t afford solar, or you rent, but you want to help our group, also, contact us.

Gavin Gilchrist, Project Manager: 0407 663 125

Congratulations to school students protesting for action on climate change!

Inner West Community Energy is with you 100%!

Kids rally pic

We also want to see the governments running our community at a national, state and local level do a whole lot more to cut greenhouse emissions. No government that works for us here in the Inner West is doing anything like enough. So maintainyour rage. We share it.

Our second message is about what you can do to help us drive the transition to 100% renewables in our community. This is a practical step that will create demonstrable action to promote clean energy in our neighbourhood.

Ask your parents or carers whether you’ve got solar panels on the roof of your house or apartment building. If not, ask why not.

If they say: “That’s because we rent” then, for now, leave it. Putting solar on rented houses is tricky because landlords usually aren’t very supportive.

If they say, “We’d love solar but right now, we just can’t afford it”, then fine. Can’t argue with that.

But if they say: “We’d love solar but we just haven’t got around to it, and don’t really know where to start” then Inner West Community Energy is here to help. Many of our new solar members could find the money to invest in rooftop solar (it’s a great money saver, after all) but didn’t know where to start to get a good system on the roof at a fair price.

So if the only reason there’s no solar above your head is that nobody got around to it, here’s the plan. Get your most recent power bill, scan it (we need every page) and email it to me, the group’s project manager, and I’ll let you know if solar could work at your place.

Our preferred solar installers are booked out till mid January, but how cool would it be if you could start school next year from a solar-powered house!

Gavin Gilchrist

gavin.gilchrist57@gmail.com

0407 663 125

The transition to a clean energy future starts at home.

Sydney’s inner west may currently have a low uptake of household solar, but we’re a community group doing our best to triple that over the next few years. Here’s another big PV system we’ve just facilitated, for John and Claire in Summer Hill.

It’s a 6.4 kilowatt system with 21 Q Cell panels, Solar Edge inverter with backup capability – if the grid goes down, they don’t – and a 10 kilowatt-hour LG Chem battery… although the battery won’t be installed till next month because of a shortage of stock.

Battery installations are beginning to take off here at Inner West Community Energy. This was the second we’ve done; the first was in Annandale last month and another finished late last week in Dulwich Hill. The fourth will be in two weeks time.

Can’t wait to be able to trade energy between ourselves!

And of course we have Solar Analytics keeping an eye on things so if anything fails or there’s a problem – and we’ve had a spectacular network voltage problem in Ashfield lately which we’ll report on very soon – we’ll be the first to know about it.

You won’t get that kind of after-sales service with many other installers.

Go Solar in 2019!

Our preferred installers are now booked out till Christmas… but the sun will be shining in the New Year too, so if you know of someone who wants to go solar in the Inner West, message us via the website.

Gavin Gilchrist  0407 663 125

20181122_105207
Gayle Adams with Roland Lawrence Electrical at her Dulwich Hill home
Pictured; L-R: Malik Orabi, Dave Ferguson, Gayle Adams, Roland Lawrence and Mick Wrigley

Hey there! Meet the team pressing ahead today with a landmark solar PV and battery installation for Inner West Community Energy, dodging showers, strong winds and something of a dust storm to keep driving the energy transition to renewables in our community.

And all this was happening while Labor leader Bill Shorten was in the city to announce a very promising $100 million, four-year program to drive neighbourhood renewables through community energy hubs and solar gardens should the ALP become the government, as well as a $200 million grants program to accelerate the uptake of household battery storage.

Today’s job, in Dulwich Hill, was indeed a “landmark solar PV and battery installation” for us because it’s the first time in our one-year old community energy group’s experience that a household has traded in an old, small PV system for a much bigger one, plus battery.

It’s about to become a second-generation PV household, excuse the pun!

This is the home of Gayle Adams, seen here in the centre of the picture. She’s sending her nine-year-old 1 kilowatt PV system for recycling (that is, unless we can find a viable home for it within the next few months) and replacing it with a 13-panel, 4.03kw system with a 7 kilowatt-hour LG Chem battery, plus Solar Analytics to keep an eye on consumption, generation and storage.

Gayle has a written three-year energy plan for her house, which includes going off gas so she can go 100% renewables.

Next week, we’ll post the story of the detailed process Gayle went through to order her system with one of our preferred installers, Roland Lawrence Electrical, facilitated by Inner West Community Energy.

More details on the ALP policy announcement at www.reneweconomy.com.au.

 

Another solar installation!

Meet the Wiseman family of Rozelle! Another milestone has been reached in the history of Inner West Community Energy, albeit a minor one.

The family guinea pigs, Nutmeg and Freddy, are the first guinea pigs we’ve heard of in our community to have the joy of living in a solar-powered house.

They’re living under the latest system completed by one of our preferred installers, Roland Lawrence Electrical, a 5.7kw system with Trina panels and SMA inverter, with Solar Analytics keeping an eye on everything.

Perhaps the lesson from this installation is that going solar needs to fit in with a family’s other plans. Laurent Wiseman attended our February solar information night at The Three Weeds hotel, but the system has only just gone in.

The reason for the delay? The solar project needed to wait for the major house renovations to be complete. When they were, up went the panels.

Sometimes we can get systems installed in a month, other times a fair bit of planning is needed.

Fortunately, Nutmeg and Freddy are patient pets.

Pictured, left to right: baby Adilenne, Felix, Andrea, Luca and Laurent, with Nutmeg and Freddy, outside their new PV system in Rozelle.

– Gavin Gilchrist181105 Wiseman, Laurent family

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:

https://www.smh.com.au/…/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