Media Release Solar Generation Grows In New England

Media Release

16 January 2009

A new generation of solar power installers have come on line today with the successful completion of their training in residential PV (photovoltaic) installation.

Ten local tradespeople – two electricians, members of the Iron Man Welders initiative and clients from Jobs Australia – completed the Business Council of Sustainable Energy Accreditation which was hosted by TAFE New England Institute. The training was organised as part of the Solar New England Region Project.

“The training of ten new solar power installers creates a significant increase in the New England Region's capacity for renewable energy, green business and sustainability,” says Adam Blakester, Coordinator of the New England Sustainability Strategy.

“With these tradespeople our Region is more capable of becoming a solar region and also a leader in solar and renewable energy,” continues Blakester. “The fact that some of these young men have already got paid jobs lined up in South East Queensland proves the potential for sustainability to become a key export industry for our economy as well.”

The Solar New England Region Project is the first major initiative of the New England Sustainability Strategy and involves a large scale community installation of 400 grid connected solar systems across the Armidale, Guyra, Uralla and Walcha are. This will result in a 600% increase in the level of installed residential solar power and the total project budget is $6m.

“With more than 140 home owners already signed up for solar systems there is a significant amount of work already on the books for this new generation of solar tradespeople,” added Blakester.

The Project enables households in the region with an income below $100,000 to get a fully installed solar system for as low as $2,440. The affordability of the package was made even easier this week with the New England Credit Union – the official finance partner – announcing a three-month no repayment option on their Solar Loan. This means customers can purchase their solar system and not make any repayments until their system is fully installed and reducing their electricity bill.

The ten solar power installers are: Apii Manu, Peter Hutton, Peter Darcy, Rory Cahill, Steven Powley, Joel Griffiths, Bernie Flint, Bernie Shakeshaft, James Shakeshaft, and Robert Spreadborough.

Special thanks go to the sponsors and supporters of the training: AusEnergy, TAFE New England Institute, the NSW Department of State and Regional Development, Iron Man Welders and Jobs Australia.

New England home owners interested in the solar system package can find out more at or contact Adam Blakester on 02 6775 2501, 0419 808 900 or ten.yalpmgidarap|mada#ten.yalpmgidarap|mada.

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