Solar energy is lighting the way – article in the Western Advocate

The following article, by Louise Eddy, appeared in today’s Western Advocate. It talks about a major solar installation that Solar Choice brokered in Western NSW that will produce enough power to service 4 homes.

It’s worth noting that since Dr Fingleton’s installation was quoted in August 2009 prices for large solar installations have actually come down significantly, and a large 10kW system can be purchased for $45,000 – $55,000. At this initial cost the system will pay itself off in 4.5 to 5 years.

Dr Fingleton’s installation is also featured in our article on ground mounted solar PV systems.

Solar energy is lighting the way

14 Jan, 2010 07:54 AM

DOCTOR Larry Fingleton is so convinced solar farming is the way of the future he has invested $70,000 in a solar system for his Georges Plains property. The 10kW ground-mounted solar farm features 60 panels and will produce enough electricity to power three or four average houses.

Generating 45kW hours per day, it is the largest system the government will allow.

Dr Fingleton said from this month the government will pay 60 cents per kW hour for surplus clean energy fed back into the power grid. His 10kW system will yield approximately $27 per day or $9855 per year.

That’s a nice bonus, Dr Fingleton said.

At this rate it will have paid for itself in seven years.

The remainder will be the return on my investment.

Dr Fingleton used a broker, Solar Choice, to provide information and negotiate with installers to get him the best deal.

He said their service is free to the solar farmer, paid not by the customer, but by the successful installer.

Managing Director Angus Gemmell said this year alone the company has brokered for 4000 customers Australia-wide.

Since the NSW government’s Solar Bonus Scheme was announced, the number of new customers in NSW has grown to make up 60 per cent of their clientele.

Australsun won the contract and started installing the massive system on December 22. They finished the job on Christmas eve.

The company also supplies the panels and investigates the best place to install them.

Australsun’s owner John Young said the company, based in Perth, has been kept very, very busy.

We are getting a lot of work in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales, he said.

This is very big for a private job. Normally you would see this kind of set up on a school.

Dr Fingleton said he is also considering setting a system up on his bore as a further investment.

It’s quite possible the value of this project will increase as the cost of electricity goes up, he said.

We wanted to do the environmental thing “ but it’s also a sound investment.

It’s the government incentives that make it worthwhile.

Between $12,000 and $15,000 worth of incentives are available per unit in addition to the premium rate offered for electricity returned to the grid.