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Skylark Boulevard a solar success

A man in anavy shirt and tan jacket talks to the camera.
A man in  anavy shirt and tan jacket talks to the camera.

Skylark Boulevard, a suburban street in Melbourne’s expanding south east has one of the highest concentrations of residential rooftop solar in Victoria.

Once farmland, this suburban street has close to 100 homes with rooftop solar. Many of those homes are in the lifestyle village known as Berwick Waters, operated by Lifestyle Communities. Built in 2018, the 2 and 3 bedroom homes are dotted around a central resort-style clubhouse, which is itself covered in solar panels.  

Aged 50+, many of the residents have taken advantage of a group offer, negotiated by Lifestyle Communities and Solar Victoria. David Church and his neighbour Bob Vienna were the first residents to apply for a solar PV rebate with the Solar Homes Program in 2018, soon after the program was launched.  

After living with solar for over a year, David says it’s well worth it. 

“I’ve worked out it saved me about $10 a week over the 12-month period so that adds up to about $520 per year so in terms of paying back what your outlay was its going to take probably 3 years to do and that’s a reasonable period of time.” 

The retired school principal says managing his finances has been a key factor in many of the decisions he’s made, including investing in solar.  

“I’ve been retired since 2001 and you get to the stage where you’ve got to begin to balance the budget if you’re going to go on for another 20 years so that was one of the driving factors, the economics of actually doing it, and the savings that could be actually be made.”  

Resident Barbara says they are saving around $1000 a year on their energy bills. “It’s very efficient, very helpful, very clean and a lot of savings. I would highly recommend solar panels. I know how much solar is going into the grid each day because I have an app on my phone and it tells me and gives me a reading every day of my input.” 

And while saving money on energy costs is a major advantage, for David solar power’s role in tackling climate change was an equally big driver. 

 “If you’re like us, you’ve got grandchildren and you begin to think ‘well what’s their future like?  It’s a worthwhile, valuable exercise both financially and for future proofing the environment. It’s well worth going ahead and looking at it, working through the system and being a part of it.” 

Reviewed 04 May 2021

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