Monday, 2 January 2012

Wodonga employs environmentalist for energy job
27 Dec 2011

BORDER environmentalist Karen Retra is now the "go-to" person for Wodonga Council's solar power scheme. She says her job is to help people understand the "gobbledygook" of solar costs and systems. "Despite the decline of tariffs, solar is still good value and only going to get better with increases in electricity charges", she said. "My job is to help people's literacy around solar panels, costs and details, so they know what they will and won't get. "It is about understanding their options".

The Solar North East Project operates across seven North East council areas and each has its own part-time ambassador to help people make the shift to solar power. Ms Retra, who studied environmental science at Charles Sturt University, said people could still sign up for the bulk-buy solar project. "It is a high-quality system that comes with the support of solar professionals and the council", she said.

"Zen Home Energy Systems was selected from 16 solar providers through a competitive tender process which looked at price, performance, quality, service, warranty and other factors. "The result is a range of solar power systems that represent great value for money for what is a long-term investment in renewable energy. "There was some confusion about what was available and whether people can still sign up to the program. "But whether you participated in the first stage of the process, submitted an expression of interest, you can still be part of the project".

Ms Retra's background includes working on the Bill Busters campaign, Cleanaway's education officer and teaching sustainability. The project will also offer tips to residents and businesses on ways to maximise the return on solar power systems and ways to save energy through case studies and other means.

For information on a low-interest loan through WAW Credit Union or to speak with Karen Retra, email or phone the council on (02) 6022 9300.