Environmental conservationist Gordon Fraser-Quick (left) and Lismore resident Laurie Axtens discussing plans for a new solar organisation.
Environmental conservationist Gordon Fraser-Quick (left) and Lismore resident Laurie Axtens discussing plans for a new solar organisation. The Northern Star

Bright idea sought to take heat out of solar

CALLING all solar enthusiasts in Lismore.

Lismore men Gordon Fraser-Quick and Laurie Axtens want your help to find a way to get a mass roll-out of solar power around Lismore.

They are hoping to form a new organisation combining homeowners, tradespeople, financiers, business and, hopefully, the city council.

“We want to establish a community group that could be a co-operative or an incorporated association,” Mr Axtens said. “Once we have that energy and a structure in place we can speed up the process and take advantage of the Federal Government's $8000 solar rebate.”

Mr Fraser-Quick said there were several precedents, including the 'solar neighbourhoods' model being used by Byron Bay-based company Beyond Building Energy. The company requires 50 households in an area to sign up for a solar system to let them cut costs to the consumer. There are similar models in Adelaide and the United States.

However, with the Government's new means test on the rebate, Beyond Building Energy now wants consumers to pay the full amount upfront, and wait six to eight months until the installation and paperwork is done before getting the rebate.

This puts the offer out of the reach of many households and has compelled the Lismore men to find other ways of achieving their aim.

“We know this is a big project, but it has potentially huge benefits. By all getting together surely we can come up with a scheme that is affordable, good for the economy and service providers, and sends a message to the rest of the nation that community concern can be converted to community climate care,” Mr Fraser-Quick said.

The scheme may be also able to claim carbon credits.

The men are hoping to hold a meeting later this month to further develop the concept. Anyone interested can call Mr Axtens on 6621 6015 or Mr Fraser-Quick on 6622 4221.



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