Riddells Creek Sustainability Newsletter

12 November 2008

Its Happening!

Filed under: Solar Panel Project — Lyn H. @ 3:53 pm

Great news! Our first solar power panels were installed on the 11/11/08. The excited participant still has to wait for the meter box to be made compliant and the final inspection before they can be used but after all this time and effort it is great to know they are on a Riddell roof.  There are almost 60 households still in our neighbourhood.  It is very encouraging to see this many people going ahead with the project.

We look forward to the roll out continuing in the next few months.

Julie and Lyn.

14 October 2008

Solar Panel price rise

Filed under: Solar Panel Project — Lyn H. @ 10:03 pm

A message to Solar Neighbourhood participants,

We wish to advise you about a price rise that will affect every Solar Neighbourhood due to the fall in the value of the Australian dollar to the Euro.

This means that the panels from Conergy are going to be more expensive. By the end of this week you will receive an email from Rezeko outlining the price rise.

At present other organisations (for example Ballarat Breaze) have increased their price by about
$1000 a kw. Erik at Rezeko has indicated that his increase will be between $600-700 per kw, payable after installation. For a standard installation this is still the lowest price per kw system.

Any money paid so far is fully refundable if you decide not to proceed.

The great news is that four installers have been lined up to install the Riddells Creek Solar Neighbourhood and we anticipate installations before Christmas.

Julie, Lyn & Russell

28 September 2008

Meeting – 25th Septermber 2008

Filed under: Solar Panel Project — Reilly @ 10:45 pm

12 September 2008

Next Riddells Creek Solar Neighbourhood Meeting

Filed under: Solar Panel Project — Lyn H. @ 10:59 pm

7:30 pm,
Thursday, September 25
at the Senior Citizens Hall.

The Riddells Creek Solar Neighbourhood is slowly becoming a reality.  Up to the last week in August, 76 PV rebate applications from Riddells Creek went in to the government office (DEHWA) and some have already been approved.  So far only 5 households dropped out of the scheme as a result of the quotes from the pre-inspection.  Please contact us if your quote has not arrived yet.

The $8,895 for Riddells Creek participants is due on 25th September. We will have a meeting for the solar neighbourhood and collect cheques on the night.  Rezeko will be ordering stock for Riddells Creek at the same time as Benalla and Violet Town in early October.

Direct payment is possible. Details of the bank account are –

Bank: ANZ

BSB: 013006

Account Number: 488549119

Account Name: Rezeko Pty Ltd

The panels are Conergy monocrystalline 145 watts.  The warranty is held by Rezeko however underwritten by Conergy. Should there be a malfunction Rezeko will seek replacement of the panels or other components from Conergy and  Rezeko will cover the labour cost of the replacement.

Greetings from Lyn.

23 June 2008

Frequently Asked Questions from people registering for solar electricity.

Filed under: Solar Panel Project,Sustainability — Julie @ 4:57 pm

To register, go to www.rezeko.com

To Login –  use your email address and make up, and remember a password. 

Be patient, it takes a while to load.

Applications must be completed before July 5th.

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Only post page 2 and 6 of the government rebate form with your licence copy and bill copy to PO Box 4222, Black Rock North 3193.

Don’t forget to let us know you are applying, put yourself on the map.

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Macedon, Mt Macedon and Clarkefield are within the 10 kilometre boundary.  Use the  Distance Lookup Map to check your distance from Riddell PO.

11 June 2008

Solar Neighbourhood Launched

Filed under: Solar Panel Project — Lyn H. @ 8:45 pm

Riddells Creek Solar Neighbourhood was launched on Thursday June 5 at a public meeting and you will be able to apply on line from June 16 until July 5th.

Lyn, Julie, Russell and an electrician went to see the solar installations in Black Rock and Sandringham. It was inspiring to see so many going up in one street. We saw the warehouse full of panels, inverters and roof-mounting equipment. Photos and more information about our expedition were presented at the community meeting.

For Riddells Creek, people need to decide how to source the $8000 (and later get it back via the rebate once the panels are fully operational on your roof; max 6 months from date of PV rebate approval). There are many ways to source the $8000 including personal savings, a bank loan (some banks do green loans at slightly reduced rates). The Sunbury Bendigo Bank will halve the application fee. Their unsecured loan rate is 12.89% and their secured loan rate (against a house for example) is 9.5%. The latter would add about $455 to the cost of the system depending on the length of the loan. The former would add about $590 to the cost of the system. We recommend approaching your own bank to see if they can better these rates. A few households have dropped out since the Federal budget decision to means test the rebate for households earning less than $100,000. We have well over 25 households going ahead with pre-inspection quotes.

The total cost of the system will be $1499, plus the $8000 ($9499). This includes the panels, an inverter, a new meter, all fully installed, checked and compliant with Australian Standards.

House installations must be in a 10km radius from Riddells Creek Post Office. If you are not sure you are within this distance, visit this page and type in your address: Distance Lookup Map

If you type in “Macedon” or “Romsey” or “New Gisborne” it will tell you how far the township is from the Riddells Creek PO. Or put in your address (eg. 1 Main Road, Riddells Creek). Or zoom in or out and move the blob around ( if it puts your house in the wrong place or if Google maps don’t know your street) the distance will update. If townships are marginal they will be included but we need to draw the line at townships that are clearly beyond the 10 km. Small communities outside 10km don’t despair. Rezeko (the company name for the Victorian arm of Beyond Building) has set new costs to allow smaller clusters to get together, see below.

Because we are a ‘pre-Federal budget’ group, we are allowed to go ahead at $8,895 even if we get only 25 houses within 10km of Riddells Creek.

The first step in the process is to enter your details at the Rezeko website www.rezeko.com     The website operates from  June 16 until July 5th.

Now the website is ready you are able to register under the RIDDELLS CREEK SOLAR NEIGHBOURHOOD.   You are able to apply on-line. Rezeko will then send you a welcome letter with the Government’s PV rebate application form. To save time, the Rezeko welcome letter and the 1KW Government PV Rebate form are posted below.


If you want to install a bigger system, make sure you fill in the form that is for a 2KW PV Rebate. The cost is an extra $8000 for every extra kilowatt above 1KW. The $8000 rebate applies only to the first 1KW; ie. a 2KW system costs $17,499 minus the rebate.

If you are intending to go ahead as part of the Riddells Creek Solar Neighbourhood please let us know. We’d like to set up a separate Google map showing the location of the Solar Neighbourhood participants, so that we can schedule pre-installation inspections as efficiently as possible. To do this, we need you to email us your street address to rjb@hotkey.net.au or phone Julie on 54287623.

click here to download the files

  1. Welcome from Rezeko – includes full details of the timing of the installation process. The main change is that the $8000 is only now paid after the Government has accepted your application. Also no money is paid until the pre-inspection is completed. After the pre-inspection you will be given a quote on the final price – this will be $1499 for most but some households may have extra costs, such as the meter box, roof pitch, or three phase, etc. You then accept or reject the offer.
  2. Government rebate application form for a 1kW system.
  3. Government rebate application form for a 2kW system.
  4. Price list for pods, clusters and mini-neighbourhoods outside of the Riddells Creek 10km limit and solar schools price list. We recommend you encourage your schools to participate in the discussion about utilising the special rebate available for schools.
  5. The revised solar calculator – it now has an estimate of the effect of the State Government’s miserly/pathetic feed-in tariffs (which will be introduced in January 2009).

To summarise:

  • The system and basic installation will cost $1499.
  • You will save about $300 p/a (because of less electricity taken from the grid).
  • It will take about 5 years to recover the cost of the installation.
  • The benefits for the Planet and future generations are considerable.

Note that in this period it is possible that the price of electricity will increase and politicians will eventually do the right thing re tariffs so the benefits will increase over time. We will call a public meeting at the installation phase.

Cheers, congratulations and good luck with the next stages.
Russell, Lyn and Julie

6 June 2008

Solar Neighbourhood Meeting 5th June Photos

Filed under: Solar Panel Project — Reilly @ 2:11 pm

2 June 2008

Strengthening Victoria’s new solar laws

Filed under: Solar Panel Project,Sustainability — Lyn H. @ 9:28 pm

See below some information you may wish to consider for your letter to Peter Batchelor and John Brumby.  Its not too late – send the letter this week!

Suggested legislative amendments to the Brumby Government’s solar legislation
On Monday May 5th 2008 the Brumby Government released some details of its much anticipated solar feed-in tariff. The announcement was met with extreme disappointment by the 40-odd community groups, businesses, unions and councils that had been campaigning for and supporting effective solar laws (i). If the Government’s proposed solar laws pass through Parliament they will do little to support solar power, solar industry development and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. There is still an opportunity to salvage the solar laws as they pass through Parliament, so that we can develop a thriving solar industry in Victoria. The importance of making the Brumby Government’s solar laws meaningful for industry is now even more critical given the Federal Government’s imposition of a means test to the solar rebate programme, effectively excluding households that earn over $100,000 annually from eligibility to the rebate of $8000. We are calling on all politicians in both houses of Parliament to work within their parties to make the following amendments to Premier Brumby’s proposed solar feed-in tariff. 

1. Make the 60c KWh tariff payable on gross, not just net generation
The Victorian Government has shunned the experience of over 40 nations with feed-in tariffs and has decided only to pay the tariff only when household generation of solar power exceeds household energy use, and electricity is therefore fed back into the grid. To be an effective driver for investment in solar power the legislation should be amended to pay the 60c KWh tariff on ALL electricity generation from a solar system for a rolling 15 year period. 

2. Increase the system size limit for the 60c KWh tariff to 10 KW and allow businesses and community organisations to participate. Introduce a 48c KWh tariff for systems between 10 KW and 100 KW
The Brumby Government’s model excludes any solar systems of 2 KW and above. This will effectively deter households from installing larger systems – surely a perverse incentive for a scheme that is supposed to encourage solar power. The Brumby Government’s model also excludes business, local government and community organisations like churches from participating. This restriction should be removed to encourage all sectors to invest in renewable energy. 

3. Ensure low income households are not negatively impacted by the scheme by exempting concession card holders
While the Brumby Government claimed it introduced a weak model in order to protect low income households, there is no such protection in the Government’s model. Advocates for an effective feed-in tariff would like to see concession card holders exempted from any electricity price rises to ensure that low income households are not unfairly hit by the cost of this or other measures. While much has been made of electricity price rises the German Environment Ministry has found that the German gross feed-in tariff did not actually lead to electricity price rises (ii). An effective feed-in tariff in Victoria would prevent the need to build expensive peaking plant and contribute energy to the grid on hot sunny days when electricity prices are highest, reducing and potentially eliminating any electricity price rises associated with the introduction of a feed-in tariff. 

4. Allow other renewable micro-generation technologies to participate in the feed-in tariff
Farming groups have expressed an interest in installing micro wind-turbines (with blades 1-2 metres in diameter) and participating in the scheme. The scheme should be expanded to allow other renewable micro-generation technologies to participate.

Additional measure
Separate to the legislation the Victorian Government should establish an industry development fund to fast-track and extend training for workers to participate in the emerging industry that will follow the introduction of an effective Feed-in tariff. For further information: Environment Victoria Campaigns Director Mark Wakeham 0439 700 501 ATA Energy Policy Manager Brad Shone 0432 251 456 Moreland Energy Foundation CEO Paul Murfitt 0401 990 273 ETU State Secretary Dean Mighell 0418 354 362
ii Renewable Energy Sources Act – Progress Report 2007

i The following organizations have expressed their support for a gross metering solar feed-in tariff that protects low income households: Victorian Farmer’s Federation, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Environment Victoria, Moreland Energy Foundation, Municipal Association of Victoria, Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Szencorp Pty Ltd, Going Solar, The Environment Shop, Alternative Technology Association, Victorian Local Governance Association, Clean Energy Council, Construction Queen, WestWyck Pty Ltd, BP Solar, Carbon Market Economics, Climate Group, Solco, Sustainable Solutions P/L, RFI, Sharp (Solar Panel Manufacturer), Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action, Environment Defenders Office (EDO), Greenpeace, Australian Conservation Foundation, Carbon Equity, Mt Alexander Sustainability Group, Electrical Trades Union, Lighter Footprints, Greenleap Strategic Institute, Friends of the Earth, Murrindindi Climate Network, Nillumbik Climate Action Now, Albury-Wodonga Environment Health, Albury Wodonga Towards Climate Health, (WATCH), Border Eco-Living Program, Yarra Climate Action Now, National Toxics Network, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, C4 Healesville

16 May 2008

Funding for Solar Rebates in 2008-09

Filed under: Solar Panel Project — Lyn H. @ 8:44 pm

In the May 13th Federal Budget the Rudd Labor Government announced it will spend $25.6 million in funding under the Solar Homes and Communities Plan in 2008-09

As part of the changes to the scheme a new means test will be introduced. From midnight May13th, access to the $8000 rebate will be restricted to households with an annual taxable income of less than $100,000. This means-test brings the program into alignment with the Solar Hot Water Rebate which also has a means-test of $100,000. Unfortunately some Riddells Creek Solar Neighbourhood people will miss out on the $8000 rebate for now. It is extremely disappointing that the Government is not setting out to massively boost the solar power industry in order to limit carbon emmissions now.

Renewable Energy Certificates generated by solar power systems will also continue as before.

In the Budget it was announced that from 2009, Australian households will also have access to $10,000 Green Loans which will help households with the upfront costs to improve the energy and water efficiency of their homes, including through installing solar power systems.

Solar Power Generation and Feed-in Tariffs

On Monday May 5th, the State Government Energy Minister Peter Batchelor, announced a scheme that will pay households about four times the standard retail rate of 17 cents, for the excess energy that households generate from solar panels on their roof. From next year, households will be paid 60 cents per kilowatt hour fed into the grid.

Environment groups were disappointed with the scheme as most countries with solar schemes pay a premium rate for ALL energy generated, whether it is used at home or fed into the grid. The argument about NET metering versus GROSS metering will continue for some time. The Municipal Association of Victoria, which represents local councils, is calling on the Government to extend the subsidy to cover ALL energy produced by homes and small businesses. To combat climate change, the State Government needs to encourage clean energy production and cut our reliance on polluting brown coal.

We urge you to write to the Premier John Brumby and the Energy Minister Peter Batchelor to lobby for a premium rate for ALL energy generated.

Phone, fax or letter has more effect than email.

Send it to – Peter Batchelor, Level 20, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne Vic 3000.
Phone 96584660 and fax 96584631 or email peter.batchelor@parliament.vic.gov.au

And to The Premier, John Brumby, Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne 3000.

See next article for some information you may wish to consider for your letter to Peter Batchelor and John Brumby. Its not too late – send the letter this week!

18 April 2008

Renewable Energy Training for Electricians

Filed under: Solar Panel Project,Sustainability — Lyn H. @ 11:11 pm

Renewable Energy Training

Rezeko, the Victorian distributor for Beyond Building Energy, has formed an alliance with Swinburne University’s Grid Connect Short Course for Electricians with the aim of supporting new installers entering the industry. As the 1KW grid connected system proposed by Beyond Building Energy is over 120 volts, it must be installed and supervised by qualified and accredited electricians.

Swinburne’s short course provides the training required for qualified electricians to apply for Accreditation with the Clean Energy Council as a designer and/or installer of Grid-connect Renewable energy systems. Please refer to the BCSE Accreditation requirements http://www.bcse.org.au/default.asp?id=174 for further details. This is a sixty hour course and consists of five day classes ( 40 hours ) plus five night classes ( 20 hours). The next course may begin in early July in Hawthorne. For course information please contact Robert Cook on 9214 5264 or by email: rocook@swin.edu.au

A list of accredited Victorian Training authorities can be viewed at the Clean Energy Council
(formerly the Australian Business Council of Sustainability) website – www.bcse.org.au

TAFE Statement in Renewable Energy Bendigo Regional Institute Bendigo VIC 03 5434 1555
Advanced Diploma of Renewable Energy Chisholm Institute of TAFE Berwick VIC 03 9212 4583
Cert 4 in Electrotechnology Renewable Energy Chisholm Institute of TAFE Dandenong VIC 03 9212 4585
Diploma of Electrotechnology Renewable Energy Chisholm Institute of TAFE Dandenong VIC 03 9212 4585
Diploma of Renewable Energy Chisholm Institute of TAFE Berwick VIC 03 9212 4583
Cert 4 in Electrotechnology Renewable Energy Gordon Institute of TAFE Geelong VIC 03 5225 0574
Diploma of Electrotechnology Renewable Energy Gordon Institute of TAFE Geelong VIC 03 5225 0574
Hydrogen Fuel Cells – Commissioning and Maintenance Gordon Institute of TAFE Geelong 03 5225 0574
Introduction to Hydrogen Fuel Cells (2006) Gordon Institute of TAFE Geelong VIC 03 5225 0574
Online Course Engineering & Economics of Solar PV Energy System Monash Uni Melbourne 03 9905 5957
Advanced Diploma of Renewable Energy Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE Preston VIC 03 9269 1093
Cert 4 in Electrotechnology Renewable Energy Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE Preston VIC 03 9269 1062
Cert 4 in Electrotechnology Renewable Energy Swinburne University of Technology Hawthorn 0392148504
Diploma of Electrotechnology Renewable Energy Swinburne University of Technology Hawthorn 03 9214 8504
Grid-connect short course for electricians Swinburne University of Technology Hawthorn VIC 03 9214 8504

Mike Russell at the Clean Energy Council, phone 03 99294115, can answer any questions you may have. The course costs range from $1000 fee for service to $200 with government funding. There are also on line correspondence courses at Brisbane and Ulladulla with a weekend practical component. Also the National Electrical and Communications Association’s (NECA) EcoSmart Electricians training courses are now available, contact 03 9645 5533 . Next session starts May 7 from 2pm—8pm at Chisolm TAFE in Berwick.

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