Thank you for your interest! With electricity prices and petrol prices rising we enjoyed discussions with over 100 people and families keen to save money and reduce emissions.
Net Zero Information Stall
Solar and Net Zero House, Strata, Businesses and Schools Info and Q&A
Marieken, Louise, Narween, Kate and Jane answered many questions and gave out our Guides on ways to reduce emissions and save money on bills. We love explaining that you can approx halve your household emissions simply by switching to a renewable energy company! Find out more
We ask would you like to save money on energy bills for 25+ years? We had many discussions about rooftop solar. Costs have come down, prices are from approx $1k per kW. Warranties have gone up, some panels have 25+ year warranties. Solar can repay your investment in as little as 3 years, and provide you with free renewable energy for many more. We have guidance, case studies and videos for Solar My House, Solar My Strata and Solar My Business.
Electric cars display and Q&A
Q&A about Hyundai Ioniq 5, Tesla Model 3 and Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Our car owners David, Milo, Narween and Alan answered many questions about electric cars, range, features and charging at home and out and about. It was a cold day and Ursula and Narween were glad to make Ioniq-powered-Ecoffee and tea for guests.
Our next car will be electric, it’s great to see options and sizes, hear what it’s like to own one, and understand what real life range is like and how often we need to charge, thank you – David & Felicity
Hyundai Ioniq 5 SUV is an electric SUV with a 72.6kWh battery and approx 450 km of range, charging to 80% in approx 18 minutes at a fast charger.
Tesla Model 3 Sedan is an electric sedan with a 62.3kWh battery and approx 450 km of range, charging to 80% in approx 20 minutes at a fast charger (Standard Range model).
Toyota Corolla Hatchback is a hybrid with an electric motor and a petrol engine, giving greater fuel efficiency and with less emissions than a petrol only car.
Electric bike conversion workshop
How to convert your push bike to an electric bike
Chris and Gill brought their E-bikes and answered many questions about speed, range and price. Chris converted his pushbike into an E-bike using a DIY Swytch E Bike conversion kit and explained how easy this is to do.
The E-bike conversion kit looks small and easy, a great option for people that have a bike and want the option of electric assistance – Michael
If you can’t come along, you can access all of our info online, and you can pledge your low carbon switches and win a signed copy of Saul Griffith’s new book The Big Switch here.
Students and teachers from Beauty Point Public School played host for the third meeting of the Zero Emissions Schools Network (Mosman) on August 4rd. With greater Sydney in lockdown, it had to be online but, thanks to some video magic, we still got a tour around the school’s environmental trail.
The trail takes you past the vegetable gardens, with built-in watering systems, the cosy home for stingless native bees, the worm farm and the birds and bees highway.
The BPPS Green Team was launched in 2020. They have many ideas for improving sustainability around the school. The school has a water tank and it installed solar panels in October 2020 with assistance from Solar My School. Some of the students’ favourite activities are tree planting and biodiversity initiatives such as the birds and bees highway. Last year grants from Greening Australia and Sustainable Schools have funded planting including 6 large trees and 150 small tubestock trees.
The most colourful sustainability initiative is their rainbow lorikeet mural, which brightens up the playground while reducing UV reflection.
You have all achieved so much. I love what the schools are doing and proposing. Our schools and children are key to getting our community onboard and meeting our net zero target.
All Mosman Schools were represented at the meeting. It was a great opportunity to exchange ideas and cheer each other on. Thank you, Beauty Point Public School, for hosting, and for giving us a wonderful virtual tour. We look forward to our next meeting on 27 October at Sacred Heart, Mosman.
For more information on family friendly sustainability tips check out Zero Emissions Schools on our website or contact Jenni Hagland, Program Leader. Interested in a school network in your area? Get in touch!
The lights are on at Pioneer Clubhouse Balgowlah! And what a great photo of the ZESN volunteer team including advisors: L-R: Linda Robertson, Chris Lee, Susie Morgan, Tina Jackson, Anna Josephson, Ursula Hogben, Kirsty Gold, Ann-Charlott Paduch, Harriet Cunningham and Lesley Treleaven, and a shout out to Dof Dickinson who couldn’t be here.
Our first Sunny and Share rooftop solar installation is a 13.3kW system for Pioneer Clubhouse, a mental health not-for-profit organisation in Balgowlah. This was funded by our events, Community Giving Fund and private donations, and was launched at a lunch party.
In spite of the cold and rainy day, there was a great crowd who enjoyed yummy food, a raffle, a sale of artwork and freshly potted succulents, speeches, a cake, fairy lights, music and dancing. How lovely to see so many friends and supporters including the Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan, Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham, CEO of One Door Mental Health Kathi Boorman, and Bronwen Regan chief of staff for Federal MP for Warringah Zali Steggall OAM.
Thank you to the many people who made this possible! First, the hardworking Zero Emissions Sydney North volunteer team and volunteer advisory board who brainstormed, dreamed, come up with ideas, and held many public and private events. Thank you everyone who came to our events and installed solar and switched to a renewable energy company through us, generating thank you contributions to our Community Giving Fund used to install this solar system. Thank you to Zali Steggall MP, Mayor Michael Regan, and the Northern Beaches Council for your support. Thank you also to Pioneer Clubhouse for embracing the idea and inviting us over, to Solarpro and Diamond Energy for their financial support. Thank you also to our event hosts, our customers, our supporters, and to our generous donors including Mosman IGA and many individuals! Finally, thank you to Julie Gianessini for her beautiful photos which give you just a taste of the fun we had.
The pictures tell the story. In just a year, Zero Emissions Sydney North has held more than 20 Solar My House parties and webinars, two Electric Vehicle webinars and a Solar Open House day. Our volunteers have attended Mosman markets, delivered flyers and hosted parties. After lengthy research, we have partnered with two businesses with renewable energy at their core.
We’ve built a core group of volunteers and found friends and colleagues across local government and not-for-profit organisations. We’ve won two grants and helped people put more than $250,000 worth of solar panels on houses in the Northern region of Sydney. This is roughly equivalent to planting nearly 5000 trees, or saving of nearly 2 million kilometres of fossil-fuelled driving!
All that remains is to say thank you to all the brilliant people and organisations who have walked alongside, including:
Our Advisory Team and all the individuals and businesses who have said ‘yes, sure, what can I do?’ And last but definitely not least, a heartfelt thanks to all our amazing volunteers, many of whom star in the video.
We are a not-for-profit association of volunteers working across the Northern Beaches and the North Shore. We operate as part of the national Beyond Zero Emissions network. Our focus is on practical projects that will accelerate our transition to net zero emissions.
I am a shameless early adopter, first in the queue for the new gadgets. Back in 2011 I installed solar panels. I paid around $6,000 for a 5.5 kW system, 20 panels. The system has more than met my expectations. It’s easily paid for itself, and I love knowing that I’m producing my own power.
But… You knew there was a but coming, didn’t you? I have no regrets, but I learnt a few lessons the hard way. Here they are:
You get what you pay for
Photovoltaic panels are well-established technology. They’re not hard to manufacture. That means there is a huge range on the market, some of them very cheap. Sadly, the usual rule applies: you get what you pay for. If they’re cheap, they’re cheap for a reason. (The same applies to the inverter, by the way. Finn Peacock does a handy summary of good brands at SolarQuotes.)
My panels were mid-range price. They’re doing ok. They’ve certainly paid for themselves. But there are cracks in the panels which suggest they might be on the way out.
2. Google maps is not enough
Most solar sales teams will look at your roof on Google maps and tell you instantly how many panels you can fit on your roof. However, Google can’t tell them the whole story. A reputable company will visit your house to check the access, the shading, the state of the roof etc., as well as to discuss with you, in person, how it works. If they don’t offer to do this, they might not be the company for you.
When my panels arrived, the installers discovered that they could not fit all the panels I had purchased on the north-facing side of my roof. They ended up putting 5 panels on the east-facing roof. It means I get a bit of power early in the morning, but it is heavily shaded in winter – not ideal.
3. Know your trade
Some companies do not have installers on staff. They make the sale, then use contractors to install. This model is common with the cheap cheap online deals you see. Because the price is so low, the contractor only gets a slim margin, with no incentive to ‘go the extra mile’ in service or quality. You’re generally better off with a company that has its own installation teams. In other words, actually solar technicians!
I got quotes from SolarQuotes and chose a company from the list. The panels were installed by contractors. I called up two weeks after installation because a circuit had tripped. “Someone will get back to you,” they said. Guess what? They didn’t.
4. Weasel words and warranties
A 25 year performance warranty is pretty standard for all solar panels. This means that after 25 years, your panels should still be pumping out the power. It’s not, however, a warranty against manufacturing faults on the panels or, more importantly, on the inverter. A reputable company should offer at least 15 years on panels (the best offer 25 years) and at least 10 years on the inverter, and give you a number to call if either fail. If they don’t offer this kind of follow-up, you could make an expensive mistake.
My panels are guaranteed for 25 years but it turns out I mistook the ‘performance warranty’ for the ‘product warranty’. Rooky error.
5. Solar panels really are a no-brainer
In spite of the various traps I fell into, I have nothing but love for my solar panels. They have been worth every penny. Two years ago we added a Tesla battery to the mix, meaning that some days we are running on 100% solar power. I’m proud of taking action, and my electricity bills have reduced by around 60%. I’d encourage anyone who has a suitable roof to install solar panels if at all possible, because both financially and environmentally they represent a no-brainer. And it is so satisfying when you look at the app and see you’re 91% self powered!
So… Do it, do it now, but do it smart. You can avoid my mistakes by coming to a Zero Emissions Solar My House info session to find out how solar works and how to make sure you get the best system for you.
What rebates can I get on solar panels? How much does it cost to install rooftop solar? How do I choose a reputable company? Are batteries worth the money? And what’s with these Facebook ads for cheap deals?
Bring all your questions to our free Solar My House webinar at 6.30pm on September 16, 2020. Hosted by volunteers Ann-Charlott and Ursula, with the expert input of solar guru David Veal from Solarpro, this relaxed and friendly info session aims to get you up to speed on rooftop solar and show you how you could save money on power bills and help the environment.
We’ve already helped 100s of households start their solar journey. Here’s what some of them have said:
I thought the evening was honestly great. For me it removed any barriers to entry with making the switch, mostly around research, clarity and options. I thought the good, better, best approach was perfect. Thanks so much for starting this clever, helpful and powerful (no pun intended) initiative.
I love the fact that you guys are getting up and doing something when so many others just worry but never take action. It is exciting to have a target to work towards for our region. I love the fact that you have built in a ‘giving loop’ and plan to install solar for various charities to allow them to focus their funds on their core work, while simultaneously reducing emissions. Simply brilliant!