Solar stories to power understanding

DRREA treasurer Russell Marnock with his solar system. 209447 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

Yarra Ranges residents who have solar systems installed on their homes are being encouraged to contribute to a new information sharing initiative.

The Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association (DRREA) has launched Solar Stories, a scheme expected to get people talking about their experience with solar power.

DRREA president Peter Cook said the initiative would help spread information and positive stories of those who have helped protect the environment and save economically.

“We feel solar stories should be shared with the community as examples of residents who are helping save the planet,” he said.

“We hope that when you install solar you will be rewarded with cheaper power bills because you have to buy less power from your retailer.”

An example of a story that could be contributed to the initiative comes from DRREA treasurer Russell Marnock.

Mr Marnock said he and his wife hadn’t paid an electricity bill since their solar system was first installed.

“Since installing our 5KW solar system about two years ago our power bill has been less than zero,” he said.

“Given current tariffs, we expect to break even on the total cost of the installation in about seven to eight years.”

Mr Marnock said getting his solar system up and running wasn’t all smooth sailing, with difficulties dealing with the distributor and bureaucracy before getting to the “fairly straightforward” installation stage.

However, he said the environmental and financial benefits of his system outweighed the challenges associated with getting it up and running.

“We have already more than broken even for the environment, and we probably have 15 years or more carbon savings to anticipate,” he said.

“As for the financial break even, an investment that pays for itself in seven to eight years sounds better than money in the bank or stock market.”

Solar Stories will feature on the DRREA website at

To send in your story, email