Big response to bulk-buy rooftop solar system scheme in Sutherland Shire

Jonathan Prendergast and Lauren Dragicevich and their children Leo and Olivia in front of their solar-powered home at Como. Picture: John Veage
Jonathan Prendergast and Lauren Dragicevich and their children Leo and Olivia in front of their solar-powered home at Como. Picture: John Veage

A bulk-buy rooftop solar system scheme, which is being run by a sub-committee of the Sutherland Environment Centre, has had a big response.

Under the scheme, residents join together in purchasing rooftop solar for their homes, cutting the cost and saving hours of research looking at options.

Twenty-eight households registered in the three weeks after the scheme was launched on May 24, and the number is expected to climb by the June 19 closing date.

About 70 residents attended the launch of the scheme, which was organised by the Bundeena-Maianbar Solar group. Picture: supplied

About 70 residents attended the launch of the scheme, which was organised by the Bundeena-Maianbar Solar group. Picture: supplied

The bulk-buy is being arranged by Sunny Shire, a volunteer based community energy group, which is part of Sutherland Environment Centre.

Environment centre chairwoman Jenni Gormley  said it was “a great idea” and “anything we can do to ensure greater use of renewable energy is a good thing”.

About 70 residents attended the launch of the scheme, which was organised by the Bundeena-Maianbar Solar group.

More than two-thirds of registrations so far have come from that area.

Sunny Shire co-founders Jay Banyer (left) and Jonathan Prendergast. Picture: John Veage

Sunny Shire co-founders Jay Banyer (left) and Jonathan Prendergast. Picture: John Veage

Co-founder Jonathan Prendergast said working out the best household solar system could be an expensive and frustrating experience.

”The bulk-buy aims to reduce the need for each house to do all the research, with Sunny Shire acting as an independent trusted advocate,” he said.

“Sunny Shire uses a shire solar company and installer, and gives options of standard or premium components.”

Mr Prendergast, who works in renewable energy, said a lot of research was required before purchasing a rooftop solar system.

”There are so many options around panels, inverters and size,” he said.

“You are not just comparing solar companies, but many other variables.

“This can make getting solar inefficient and more expensive than it should be.

“As customers work through these options, it takes time and costs money for the solar company.

“They add these sales costs onto the cost of the systems they provide.

”We hope to overcome this by doing most of the hard work, and providing clear options and free and independent guidance along the way.”

Mr Prendergast said installations would start immediately after registrations closed.

Data analysed by Sunny Shire found 10 per cent households in the shire had solar power, well below the national average of 16 per cent and 14 per cent in NSW.

Sandy Point topped the list in the shire with 22.4 per cent, followed by the Menai area (postcode 2234) with 12.6 per cent, Kurnell, 12 per cent, the Engadine-Heathcote area (postcode 2233) with 11.9 per cent and Bonnet Bay- Como-Jannali with 10 per cent.

The lowest ranked suburbs were Kangaroo Point, Sylvania and Sylvania Waters (7.2 per cent), Caringbah-Port Hacking area (postcode 2229) with 7.2 per cent and Miranda-Yowie Bay (7.4 per cent).

More information: sunnyshire.org.au