When West Australian pensioner Brian Murray heard about the $8,000 Federal Government rebate available for grid connect solar, he jumped at the opportunity. “I have always believed that we must do more to protect our environment but since returning to Australia in 2000, I have heard very little about it until this Year. The population in WA don’t seem interested in discussing the subject. It was only when I became aware of the Federal Government $8,000 grant that I realised that with strict budgetary control and a bank loan of $2,000, I could afford to participate in the system.

On the issue of climate change, Brian believes the impact on Australia will be high. “…if we can educate the general public to take an interest and participate seriously we may have a chance”. At this stage Brian doesn’t believe that climate change can be stopped. “…With the present belligerent attitude of the worlds Governments and mankind we will have to adapt to a new climate, but its severity can be diminished. Im trying to do my bit; I have my car running on LPG and I have synthetic lawn which doesnt require any watering”.

On the question of buying green power, Brian commented. “I didn’t buy green power because I couldn’t afford it although after the photovoltaic system was installed, I was forced to buy green power because otherwise I could not export to the grid under WA law.

Brian’s grid connect solar power system provides him with information on the total electricity generated; total electricity consumed by his home and the net electricity exported to the grid. At present his home uses 191 kW hours per Month of electricity. The unforeseen result for Brian post system installation was his awareness of his electricity usage. “I am now very interested in my household consumption that I read my new import/export digital meter several times a day, get cranky when the weather is cloudy or it is raining and calculate my savings on a daily basis.

Brian was surprised at how little interest his solar system gathered from neighbours. “ I live in Belswan Retirement Village in Mandurah, Western Australia and this village has around 250 individual houses (population approx 400). Admittedly I am one of the youngest residents, being only 67 Years of age but I am the only resident that has a Solar Hot water System (installed November 2007) and a 1kW grid solar system (installed October 2008). The population that inhabit this village are not interested in anything other than television (including Foxtel). They could not care less about the ENVIRONMENT.

In relation to moving house Brian was adamant that this wont be happening again. “At my age and having lived, studied and worked for 39 years in 5 states in Australia, 2 years in the USA, 7 years in Hong Kong, 7 years in Portugal, 2 years in Nigeria, 5 years in Holland and 5 years in Saudi Arabia, which constitutes residing in over 25 residences during all of this time, I have no intention of moving house again! Hence my 1 kW SolarGen photovoltaic system will be staying with me. However should I win Lotto, I will certainly upgrade it to a 2KWh system so that I can make more money from Synergy.

“Yesterday afternoon I was informed by a spokesman for the WA Minister for Energy, Mr. Peter Collier, that as of July 2009 the new Liberal State Government, through Synergy, is going to pay me 60 cents for every KWh that I export to the grid until my capital expenditure of $4,990 has been paid back to me. This means that the cost of supply and installation of the 1KWh SolarGen Photovoltaic System will in the longer term cost me nothing!”.

Overall Brian has been very happy with his system and believes it has exceeded his expectations. We congratulate Brian Murray for making sacrifices in order to purchase his solar power system.