"Farming the Sun"

- New Incentives to Go Solar -


"Farming the Sun" is the third phase of the highly successful Solar New England Region Project and was launched by The Honourable Tony Windsor, Member for New England, on Tuesday 10 December 2009.

Substantial savings are being achieved through the NESS community enterprise structure, the buying of systems and equipment in bulk, clustering of installations and use of free marketing and promotion with the support of an extensive network of Project Partners and word of mouth.

Solar Power Systems are available from 20% below standard retail^ and solar hot water systems from 30% below standard retail^ with a range of further incentives and bonuses now available:

* NSW Solar Bonus Scheme paying for electricity generated starting 1 January 2010;
* Solar Credits on the first 1.5kW of new solar power installed;
* Rebates for converting from electric to solar hot water; and,
* Renewable Energy Certificates.

Home owners are now able to obtain a FREE Home Sustainability Assessment and interest free four-year $10,000 Green Loan now available from the Australia Government - which can be used to go solar now with no cash outlay up front.

The Public Launch of "Farming the Sun" was held at Armidale Town Hall, Rusden Street Armidale on Tuesday 10 November 2009 and a series of three Community Information Sessions followed: Guyra on Monday 1 December, Walcha Dairy on Tuesday 2 December and Kyabra (south of Kentucky) on Wednesday 3 December.

A copy of the slide show with information about Farming the Sun and the solar systems on offer can be downloaded by clicking on the below image Presentation_Kyabra.pdf (pdf file, 3Mb size).

Register your Interest and Apply NOW

To discuss this further or register your interest contact:
Liz Gardiner (02) 6778-7249 moc.liamtoh|1renidragzil#moc.liamtoh|1renidragzil
Adam Blakester (02) 6775 2501 0419 808 900 ten.yalpmgidarap|mada#ten.yalpmgidarap|mada

Apply for your Solar Power System here.

Book your FREE Home Sustainability Assessment here.

Apply for your Solar Hot Water System here.

Terms, Conditions & Eligibility Criteria

Converting to a heat pump? Choose carefully!!

Issued by Armidale Dumaresq Council, 18 Nov 2009

Armidale residents are continuing to embrace the shift to sustainable living with many residents converting their electric hot water system to a heat pump system. However, while Armidale Dumaresq Council is pleased by the wave of conversions, problems regarding the placement of the systems are becoming an issue.

A heat pump provides a different way to use renewable energy to heat water, one that doesn't require solar panels. A heat pump is essentially a reverse refrigerator in that it transfers the heat in the air outside of the unit to the water stored inside the unit through a heat exchange system. "Heat pumps use approximately one third the energy of an electric water heater," the Council's Manager of Public Health and Environment Euan Belson said. "Additionally, there is a generous rebate available from the State Government up to the value of $1200, in addition to a Federal Government rebate of $1000, allowing a householder to recover almost the full cost of a unit. This is making them an extremely attractive option for residents."

There have already been 60 households in the Armidale Dumaresq Local Government Area that have received rebates for heat pumps in the last 2 years.

"Unfortunately however the NSW government has not identified any specific requirements to regulate the placement of these units," Mr Belson said. "This is resulting in complaints arising from neighbours from the noise of the units and may result in costly modification, relocation or even removal of the unit.

"At present, the Council is using the guidelines for air conditioners to advise residents about the placement of heat pumps, as the noise generated is very similar. The Noise Control Regulation treats heat pumps the same as air conditioners and in time there may be limits placed on their hours of operation."

While residents and installers need to be aware of the placement of heat pumps on a property, it is also important to select a system suitable to Armidale's cold climate. New standards are being drafted to protect consumers from choosing units which may not perform in our winter months.

"Heat pumps work by drawing in the warm air from the environment so obviously the system will work more efficiently in a warmer climate," Mr Belson said. "That said, they can be effective in colder climates such as Armidale, so long as the system acquired is one rated for a cooler environment."

The Department of Environment Climate Change and Water require on the rebate application form that applicants check with the Council prior to installation. In any case, Mr Belson said that any resident contemplating converting to a heat pump would be wise to contact the Council's Environmental Health Department on 6770 3600 prior to purchase and installation.

For further information contact Euan Belson on 6770 3872.

About the "Farming the Sun" Initiative

The "Farming the Sun" initiative is the third wave of the Solar New England Region Project to achieve a vision of the New England becoming a 'solar Region'.

The solar project is organised using 'community enterprise' structure, that is defined by being:

  • For 'purpose' rather than for 'profit' meaning that the money is for fair pay for goods and services;
  • Undertaken by a partner network of community stakeholders to build social, economic and environmental value; and,
  • Transparent and accountable, especially for the finances.

The community enterprise approach achieves a high level of affordability which is further enhanced by:

  • “Bulk buying” of systems and equipment and “Clustering” installations; and,
  • All marketing and promotion via the partner network and word of mouth.

The Solar New England Region Project is the first major initiative coming out of the New England Sustainability Strategy and aims to address the priority issue of creating a "New Energy Future" for the sustainability of the Region.

Members of the Partner Network are:

Ausenergy is a small and independent Australian company that works to enable regions to boost their renewable energy output, whilst training local trades people and equipping them with the skills and technological framework to grow and maintain their local industry.

Profits are funnelled into ongoing research and development.

AusEnergy's role is to provide the technical coordination and administration of the solar power systems, organise local training and coordinate all installation work.

Endless Solar
Endless Solar is committed to delivering the best renewable energy technologies to help meet Australia's daily energy needs by providing a range of world-class and highly cost-effective solar hot water solutions that deliver major cuts in energy use and in greenhouse emissions!

Endless Solar's role is to administer the Solar Hot Water Systems, organise local training courses and actively seeks the co operation of the region's industry and tradespeople for all installation work.

New England Credit Union
The New England Credit Union (NECU) are the official Finance Partner and provide the Green Loan for new and existing members to purchase solar systems.

TAFE New England Institute
TAFE have provided facilities for the local solar installation training for local industry, tradespeople and apprentices to gain qualifications and progress towards becoming fully accredited solar system installers.

Southern New England Landcare
Southern New England Landcare (SNELCC) are a member of the New England Sustainability Strategy Executive (NESSiE) and Community Partner of the Solar Region Project. SNELCC are supporting the Project to increase rural participation.

G.J. Gardner Homes
G.J. Gardner Homes has over 25,000 homes worth of experience with a reputation for building quality homes on time and on budget. Today, there are more than 85 G.J. Gardner Homes building franchises operating throughout Australia and New Zealand, Germany, South Africa and America, supported by 10 Master Franchises.

Talloires Declaration, UNE
The purpose of the Talloires Declaration Committee is to build capacity and commitment at UNE in order to enhance environmental literacy and to achieve greater environmental sustainability by implementing the Talloires Declaration.

The Talloires Declaration are supporting the promotion of the Solar New England Region Project through UNE and their broader professional networks.

ParadigmPlay is a freelance social change consultancy network led by local resident Adam Blakester.

ParadigmPlay is responsible for regional coordination of the Project.

Pete Arkins Creative Media
Pete Arkins is a local digital media specialist who has created the branding and marketing campaign for the Solar Project.

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