Councillor Vivien Griffin was shouting the benefits of solar energy from the rooftops this week as workmen finished installing a new 1.08 kilowatt solar power system at her home.
Ms Griffin, who has long championed sustainable living, said solar power made sense environmentally and economically.
“The Sunshine Coast is famous for its sunshine – it’s time we turned it into solar power,” she said. “The council has a goal of becoming the most sustainable region in Australia. I’m doing my bit.
“It’s putting my money where my mouth is.”
Not only will the solar system save Ms Griffin’s household from emitting approximately 1.4 tonnes of greenhouse gas a year, but she also expects to see her electricity bills drop by around $300.
“Everyone in Queensland with a solar power system can sell any power they don’t use back into the grid for 44 cents a kilowatt hour, an attractive alternative to buying it from the grid for around 16 cents,” she said.
“I’ll certainly break even but I might even make a profit.
“I’ve already done the stuff about the energy-efficient appliances and the energy-efficient lights.
“I’m trying to do the low-footprint thing and this is the next step.”
Ms Griffin said governments had an obligation to encourage and support the uptake of renewable energy through schemes like the state feed-in tariff and the federal government’s solar credits scheme.
“While the federal government withdrew its rebate in early June, the replacement subsidy provided through the solar credits scheme will not be means-tested and will be offered more widely than domestic applications,” she said.
But Ms Griffin said we should not just rely on our elected representatives to deal with the challenges posed by climate change.
“Climate change is real. We can’t just leave it to governments,” she said.
“It is something that each and every one of us has to say, ‘we’re going to do out bit’.”
Ms Griffin said if people wanted more information about the benefits of installing a solar energy system, they should contact the Sunshine Coast Environment Council (phone 5441 5747).
AT A GLANCE
The Queensland Government’s Solar Bonus Scheme pays households and other small customers for the surplus electricity generated from roof-top solar photovoltaic (PV) panel systems, which is exported to the Queensland electricity grid.
A one kilowatt solar system can save the average home $200 each year on their energy bill and 1.4 tonnes of greenhouse gas per year (the equivalent of 28,000 balloons full of greenhouse gases).
Solar energy is 100% renewable and does not release any harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere
Photovoltaic: “Photo” comes from the Greek “phos” meaning light. “Voltaic” is named after Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), a pioneer in the study of electricity for whom the term “volt” was named. Photovoltaics, then, means “light electricity”. A solar cell or photovoltaic (PV) cell is a “semiconductor” device which is able to convert sunlight directly into electricity.
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