28/11/2012 - The Solar North East project will conclude on 3 December 2012.
The project was directly responsible for encouraging residents to install nearly 400 solar power systems;
- Total installed power of almost 1,200 kW
- Accounting for over 16% of the total solar generating capacity installed over the project area
- Total annual energy generation of 1,840 MWh
- Offset approximately 2,650 tonne of CO2-e
- Finance partner total loans of $166,000
In the process of achieving the figures above, we spoke directly to over 5,000 people at public information sessions, community presentations and sustainability expos across the region. In addition, we lent power monitoring kits to more than 800 households and businesses – these kits remain at councils for use beyond the end of the project.
We have educated and empowered people to understand their electricity bill and given householders the tools to audit their own houses. Participating councils retain the educational collateral produced as part of the project and have the tools to continue to such a service to their ratepayers.
Participating councils installed over 80kW of solar power systems on council owned buildings as part of the project. These systems will serve as a legacy to the project and will be used as demonstration sites complete with real-time monitoring.
11/08/2012 - Changes to the Victorian Feed-in Tariff. On 3 September, the Victorian Government has moved to end access to the Transitional Feed-in Tariff which pays 25c/kWh. The new feed-in tariff will pay only 8c/kWh for those installing solar after 30 September. This new arrangement completely reverses the solar paradigm in Victoria;
Previously the relatively high feed-in tariff in relation to the tariff for purchasing power (60c/kWh vs 18c/kWh respectively) meant that the most economical scenario was to export as much power as possible. Now, the situation is reversed: Feed-in tariff = 8c/kWh vs 30c+/kWh. This means that the most economical scenario for operating a solar power system is to consume as much power as possible from the system as the value of the export of power is far less than the cost of purchasing the power from the grid.
This situation may favour people who work from home or are retired for example and use a substantial amount of their total power consumption during the day. The other way to optimise the economics of this new situation is to install battery storage. It is expected that in the coming years, this will become much more affordable.
See the Minister's announcement on the feed-in tariff here.
08/08/2012 - Mansfield Library goes Solar! Mansfield's library has recently installed a 4.5kW solar power system as part of Mansfield Shire's commitment to the Solar North East program. Mansfield's Solar Ambassador Bruce Halket was recently interviewed on TV talking about the installation.
02/08/2012 - Benalla Ensign Article
21/05/2012 - The ATA recently ran a webinar on Solar PV including economics and things to look for when choosing a solar power system. See links to the presentation and video below;
21/05/2012 - North East Energy Expo Presentation now online.
17/05/2012 - Watt Watchers competition announced! Tell us your energy efficiency and/or solar story for the chance to win one of 40 Wattson Energy monitors.
15/05/2012 - Where are people installing Solar Power in the North East i hear you ask! This short video shows where the hotspots are:
02/05/2012 - North East Energy Expo
Solar North East and ZEN Home Energy Systems will be exhibiting at the North East Energy Expo in May.
Prime News coverage of Indigo Shire
18/04/2012 - Update on Solar System Takeup so far...
The graph below shows how the project is gathering pace, particularly after the last round of information sessions in February 2012. More information sessions are planned for mid 2012.
28/02/2012 - Information Sessions completed. Over 2,000 people attended the sessions which were held throughout the project area.
21/11/2011 - Solar North East Grid Connect Guide launched.
This is a useful guide explaining the steps needed to install solar on your house or business through the Solar North East project. It also contains useful tips and covers some of the pitfalls. It can be downloaded by clicking on the image below.
31/11/2011 - Finance Partner announced: WAW Credit Union.
To assist in making solar accessible for as many people as possible, Solar North East has partnered with WAW credit union to provide a range of secured and unsecured loan products specifically for financing a solar home energy system. Both fixed and variable interest rates are available under the project. Conditions apply. See the flyer below.
18/10/2011 - Project Newsletter No. 5
Project Partner announced: Zen Home Energy Systems
After an Expression of Interest process, a select tender and some very detailed analysis of five Solar PV packages, Solar North East announces that we have appointed ZEN Home Energy Systems as a project partner as the provider of a range of Solar PV packages. Solar North East and ZEN have put together a range of solar power systems using high quality German inverters, high yield monocrystalline solar panels and a wireless system monitor. Both key manufacturers ET-Solar (panels) and SMA (inverters) have offered special Solar North East pricing to assist in making the move to Solar Power accessible to as many people as possible.
The criteria used to select Zen as the project partner included (in no particular order);
- System Performance,
- Product & Installation Warranty,
- Value for Money, and
- Organisational Capability.
06/10/2011 - My Backyard Rules - Sustainable Living Expo
Solar North East and Zen Home Energy Systems will be exhibiting at Wangaratta on 15th October 2011. Come and talk to us about solar power! See brochure below and a map
of how to get there.
12/09/2011 - Solar Ambassadors applications closed.
09/09/2011 - Solar North East Update No. 4
30/08/2011 - Victorian Feed-In Tariff Anouncement
The Victorian Government has just released a statement regarding the premium feed-in tariff (PFiT).
The PFiT will be closed to new applications on 30 September, 2011 which means that anyone signing contracts with installers now are very unlikely to become eligible to receive the 60c tariff.
While disappointing, it is important to note that the feed-in tariff is only one of a number of factors influencing the viability of installing solar. The fundamentals really haven't changed much since the premium feed-in tariff was introduced. This is primarily because the cost of equipment has fallen sharply.
Federal Government assistance while also cut earlier this year is starting to improve slightly as STC (tradable certificates) are starting to increase in value.
The bottom line: There is still a very compelling case to get into solar power and solar hot water.
23/08/2011 - Calling for Solar Ambassadors
The Solar North East project is now looking for individuals to help with spreading the message about solar, energy efficiency and sustainability.
Up to 7 positions are available for a period of up to 12 months working on the project. For a position description, please click here
28/07/2011 - Solar North East Update No. 3 (PDF)
- Resources section of website updated
A number of links to government information regarding rebates, feed-in tariffs and energy saving have been added. I've also included quite a bit of information on the technical and financial aspects of solar.