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Australian communities encouraged to embrace solar energy

30th Sep 2011

A free forum has been announced that will help community groups in the Toowoomba and Darling Downs region to make the switch to solar power systems.

Held on October 19, the event aims to inform community leaders about the options available to them for the cost-effective purchase and installation of solar panels.

The forum is presented by Landcare Queensland and Nickel Energy and will include a number of speakers.

Grant-writing expert Samantha Morris will give tips on applying for government solar-assistance programs.

Morris says: "We all know about the benefits of going solar, but this forum will allow community volunteers to actually put together a submission for funding to help them take the right steps."

Father Gary Harch will speak on the benefits his St James Parish have experienced since installing solar energy systems in their church.

A number of additional experts will focus on approaches to addressing the needs to specific buildings and facilities - meaning that community groups of all kinds will be able to see how solar can be integrated into their properties.

Organisers urge those outside of the community group circle to attend, as the talks will touch on many areas relevant to the average homeowner.

Solar power continues to grow in Australia, as evidenced by the upcoming construction of the first utility-scale solar project in Geraldton.

First Solar - the company behind the 10 megawatt project - have urged policymakers to continue to support the industry in order to build the country as a leader in renewable energy technology development.

Jack Curtis, head of First Solar Australasian operations tells Climate Spectator: "If Australia doesn't start now it will be five years behind the curve five years from now, and at a huge disadvantage trying to catch up with those markets that have gotten to the point where [subsidies are] not required."

Curtis draws attention to the falling cost of solar technology and wealth of relevant expertise as key reasons why Australia should be a global competitor in the market.

He hopes that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation will prove useful in continuing strong development in the industry.

Issues that need to be addressed, according to Curtis, include the costs associated with engineering, construction and integration.

Should continue to support the deployment of a range of large-scale projects in the coming years, Curtis believes the nation will be able to lead the way towards a clean energy future.

Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent

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