Rebate gives Don the power
By EMMA O'NEILL
NOTHING goes to waste on Don Metcalfe's Rock Valley property, and now Don's dedication to the environment is reaping a financial reward.
One of the region's first grid feed solar systems, since new rebates for solar were announced this year, was installed at Don' property around four months ago. The grid system lets Don feed solar power, generated by eight panels on his property, back into the electricity grid. The energy Don sends back to the grid is deducted from his electricity bill.
"Since I've had the panels installed, our electricity bill has been reduced by a quarter," he said.
Don said he found it fascinating that people didn't often make the connection between environmentally friendly practices and saving money.
"People talk about the cost of green energy to the Australian economy, but if usage goes down then bills go down," he said.
It cost Don around $4000 to have eight panels installed by the Rainbow Power Company. This job would usually cost $12,500, however; a recently-approved Federal Government solar rebate had allowed anyone taking part in the scheme to claim back $8000.
Country Energy community relations manager Mike Healy said since the rebate was introduced, local inquiries from people interested in installing solar systems has jumped from two or three a month to about 15 a month.
Mr Healy said that number was the highest throughout rural and regional NSW.
"We have found people in this area are very interested in renewable energy and the rebate has made it an option for the average person," he said.
Besides saving money, Don said reducing reliance on fossil fuel-based power was one way to reduce pollution and save natural resources.
"If less people were using grid power, then it would possibly reduce the need to build another coal-fired power station," he said.
Don said the concept of recycling any by-product wasn't revolutionary.
"Recycling is really just commonsense," he said.