The direct benefit of solar programs

SOLAR: Minister for Energy Dan Van Holst Pellekann, Anne Jones, Paul Jones and James Holyman, director of corporate and community for Port Pirie Regional Council.
SOLAR: Minister for Energy Dan Van Holst Pellekann, Anne Jones, Paul Jones and James Holyman, director of corporate and community for Port Pirie Regional Council.

A family in Koolunga have witnessed great benefits from a council solar initiative, which prompted Minister for Energy Dan Van Holst Pellekaan to visit and see how it combined with the state government's home battery scheme.

In 2018, the Port Pirie Regional Council introduced a community solar initiative which collaborated with South Australian company, Cool or Cosy to bring residents affordable solar.

Minister Van Holst Pellekaan saw for the first time on Friday, April 12 how both programs were overlapped and how beneficial they can be to reducing energy bills.

"The two programs overlaid are really providing real benefits for people, the investment with the benefit and low interest loan is already delivering significantly cheaper electricity bills that we want for homes and families and of course the savings on the electricity bill contribute to the payment for the equipment and when that is all paid for the the real advantages start to flow for families," Minister Van Holst Pellekaan said.

The Jones family, who the Minister visited, decided to participate in council's initiative because council had already done the hard work for something they had thought about for a while.

Since having the solar panels and battery installed, the family have changed many behaviours as they have been able to observe their usages.

Paul Jones explains that along with changing their behaviours in the home, they have seen a dramatic reduction in their power bill.

"I would encourage it to others, although we haven't had a full cycle on our solar system yet, we are probably looking at covering 85 to 95 per cent of our power bill," Mr Jones said.

"In terms of putting on the dishwasher we are doing it at lunch time, instead of at night after tea, purely because we have the battery source. Same with the washing machine," Mr Jones said.

Behind the community solar initiative was council's director of corporate and community, James Holyman.

Mr Holyman says there is a lesson to be learned from what the Port Pirie Regional Council have done and this is why the minister expressed interest in seeing the two initiatives combined.

"It is an opportunity for the state to have a look at council's community solar project and what lessons can be learned from what we have done in Port Pirie, to grow renewables and get the community to have greater access to power.

"We have received very positive feedback. We have just run a survey and we tested community satisfaction in a range of areas. In all of the areas we looked at, the community responses were satisfied with about 80 per cent or greater," Mr Holyman said.

This story The direct benefit of solar programs first appeared on The Flinders News.