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Mar 092011

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Local Power is a not for profit Brisbane community group which creates buying groups for purchasing PV (photovoltaic) Solar Panels so that members can receive a negotiated lower price based on a concentration of households.

They also assist with the installation on the premises as well as handling the paperwork, warranty and post installation support, such as better understanding your electricity bills.

I started putting some notes together about this on the weekend when they had announced that their Buying Group #6 was now open for online orders. I have just heard from Local Power’s Rob Farago that there is a great deal of interest in this and that it may close by the weekend.

The first 5 groups were only open for a couple of weeks each and this group needs to close in time to ensure they can install all the systems forall the group members before the PV Solar incentives are reduced on July 1 2011.  The Solar Credits Scheme allows an upfront incentive to reduce the initial cost of installing a PV Solar system. The size of the PV system installed determines the incentive amount. In July, the Solar Credits multiple will be reduced from 5 to 4, shrinking the upfront incentive by approximately $1000.  Local Power says that buying group #6 will be installed before these changes come into effect.

The Queensland Solar Bonus Scheme pays for the surplus electricity generated from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The Scheme rewards customers whenever they generate more electricity than they are using – not just the balance at the end of the quarter, but  whenever generation exceeds consumption during the day.

I asked Rob about the regions that have been taking up the program.

“We are based at West End so have a lot of interest here and in our neighbouring suburbs like Yeronga and Fairfield, having had coverage in the local papers in the early days.

“Looking at the map of the first 250, after the inner south the next highest grouping was Carindale to Mt Gravatt region,” Rob said.

Their website has the details of the pricing they have negotiated, the assumptions behind the pricing, and the steps to order.

More information at / / Local Power on Facebook

There is also some discussion about it over on Whirlpool.

We’ve recently had solar panels put on our garage roof, but before I knew about this group. It seems to be a great example of community action. So what do you think? Is this something you would tell your friends, family and neighbours about? It seems like there’s not much time left for their current buying group, but it will also be interesting to see their activities following this.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gen is the Founder of Carindale Connect (started in 2007). She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Queensland University of Technology and an internship from ABC Online. She's involved in a number of web projects, was the Website Manager for Chamber of Commerce and Industry QLD and the Editor of Wotnews (Australian news aggregator and search engine start-up). She also spent some time as a volunteer Community Correspondent for 612 ABC Brisbane. Born in Hobart, Tasmania, Gen now lives in Carindale. She loves her bicycle (but doesn't do lycra), the environment and art.
Genevieve Robey

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