Solar power ‘revolution’ on north coast

POWER TO PEOPLE: Forum co-ordinator Vicki Brooke and Solar Depot Bellingen‘s Geoff Tosio showcase the world-first ZCell battery. PHOTO: TREVOR VEALE

THE future of solar energy on the Coffs Coast was put into question on Friday when representatives from industry and government came together at the sixth North Coast Energy Forum.

The forum aimed to dispel doubts surrounding solar energy in the lead-up to the NSW solar bonus scheme ending in December. The forum discussed how solar batteries are shifting the energy system from a centralised to a localized model, meaning power is returning to the people.

Vicki Brooke, co-ordinator of the forum, said the aim was to achieve solutions in the face of a renewable energy “revolution”. “It’s a real game-changer now. The momentum for renewables is so strong that we are going to have our revolution,” she said. The forum showcased batteries from local energy groups such as the Bellingen Shire Electricity Alliance and Repower Coffs.

Speakers included Adam Marshall MP, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy. Geoff Tosio, renewable energy consultant from Solar Depot Bellingen, said solar energy now costed much less than coal. “There was a recent solar farm that achieved a price that’s half that of coal. “The game is up and it’s changing worldwide,” he said. Mr Tosio presented the ZCell, the first 10-year 100% discharge and 0% degradation battery.