Residents solar power fans

INDIGO has taken up almost half of the rooftop solar systems installed in the Solar North East project.

Shire residents took up 135 of the 348 systems in seven council areas.

The $500,000 project — funded by Sustainability Victoria — will come to an end this month after 18 months.

Indigo mayor Barb Murdoch said the project had been a huge success.

She said it had led to the council — “as part of its contribution” — putting solar panels on four community buildings, allowing user groups to cut their power bills.

The almost 460 kilowatts of solar power installed in Indigo Shire through the project amounted to 868 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions saved a year.

“And that’s only for installations that occurred through the Solar North East project during 2011-12,” Cr Murdoch said.

“It doesn’t include those in Indigo who used a different installer then or in previous years.”

She said many residents indicated they felt safer going with a company endorsed by the council.

That was endorsed by Yackandandah residents Greg and Katalin Young, who had a three-kilowatt system installed through the project.

“Go with a reputable company,” Mr Young said.

“When you see cheap systems ask the question ‘why is it so cheap?’.

“The research done by Solar North East saved us hours of work.”

Cr Murdoch said the project aimed to raise community awareness about renewable energy “and demystify the technical and legislative aspects of installing solar power”.

“Indigo has done that to a very high level.”