Farming the Sun solar bulk-buy

A new solar system bulk-buy is gaining momentum in the community after a launch in Uralla on Wednesday.

Bulk buy: Community members attend the launch of a second bulk-buy of evacuated tube solar hot water systems in Uralla on Wednesday.

Bulk buy: Community members attend the launch of a second bulk-buy of evacuated tube solar hot water systems in Uralla on Wednesday.

The Farming the Sun initiative aims to install solar hot water for an additional one per cent of residents in Armidale and surrounds. 

Armidale resident Julie McCarthy became interested in the concept after using solar panels for three years to provide for her family of five.

“I’m interested in replacing the gas hot water system,” Ms McCarthy said.

“I’ve found for our family the savings from solar are significant.”

Alisa Perks, also from Armidale, participated in a solar panel community buy in 2009.

“We’ve been really well placed since we got that … it’s covered most of our energy use so it’s been really good value,” Ms Perks said.

“Over winter we slipped out of credit and we got an electricity bill of only $82.”

Starfish Initiative executive director Adam Blakester ran the event and said around 12 people have already expressed serious interest in the last week.

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said the second bulk-buy represented a boost to households who could not only save up to 30 per cent on normal installation costs – but would bring down their power bills at a time when electricity costs continue to go through the roof.

“This is a great initiative and is another giant step for this region in switching to renewable energy use,” Mr Marshall said.

“And you can see why retailers and installers are reporting a big spike in demand for solar systems like we saw six years ago with the 60-cent energy rebate scheme – this package is a win-win really because you’re getting a quality product at a discounted price that will help you at a time when power bills have jumped 10 per cent and look likely to continue skyrocketing.”

 Z-NET Uralla coordinator Stephen Griffith participated in the first round of the solar hot water bulk-buy and said he was very happy with the outcome.

“One of the things we’ve been very happy with is the fact that we saw an immediate reduction in our power bill … it has next to no maintenance requirements.”

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