In February of 2008, Susan and Neil decided to make the commitment to purchase a 2kW grid solar system for their home in Kensington, Victoria. “…We wanted to be part of the solution to climate change rather than part of the problem”.

Both of them feel strongly about the issues facing the planet with climate change. “Climate change will have a major impact on Australia and on the world. We are all on the same planet. National boundaries are meaningless. Climate change has already started and maybe we cant stop it, but we can probably diminish its severity. Whether we can or not, it would be irresponsible and feeble not to try”.

They already purchasing green power from their retailer prior to having their grid solar system installed. “I am considering changing my green power ‘package’ if I can as I get charged a fixed amount per week rather than in proportion to the electricity I draw from the grid. So I am paying just as much for Green Power even though my grid usage has dropped enormously” said Susan.

Susan and Neil estimate their household consumes about 300 kW hours of electricity per Month. The motivation for getting a 2kW system rather than the 1kW they needed to get the maximum rebate was to try to generate as much electricity as they consumed on average over a 12 month period. “I don’t think we’ll quite manage it. We’d hoped to generate 9-10kwh per day on average, but it looks as though it will be more like 7-8. But that’s just made us more determined to reduce our consumption further. Based on a week when the house was unoccupied, it looks as though our fridge uses about 3kwh per day, so we’re investigating what we can do about that.”

“We have no regrets about our decision to go solar. Some people have said we should have waited until it got cheaper and more efficient, but technology is always improving so there’s never an ideal time. And while you’re waiting for it, the climate is changing – maybe irreversibly. If you are serious about tackling the problem, you have to make a commitment.”

Although their household is not high income (they would still qualify for the rebate even after the means test was introduced), Susan and Neil have already managed to restore the bank balance to close to where it was before making the $15,000 investment in solar. “Our reliable income is quite low, but we’ve worked out how to manage on it. When we get additional work and have a high wage month, we always put some aside and we don’t claim family tax benefit through the year, so the tax rebate goes straight into savings. The outlay on the solar panels hasn’t been as big a financial burden as we thought it would be and anyway we see it as an investment.”