Power grid­lock bro­ken

Midland Reporter - - Front Page -

MARTIN Chape has thrown off the shack­les of elec­tric­ity gi­ant West­ern Power and gone off the grid with his so­lar-pow­ered Belle­vue home.

And now the owner of Marty’s House is push­ing for leg­isla­tive changes so res­i­dents can dis­trib­ute ex­cess power to their neigh­bours at a cheaper rate than Syn­ergy.

All Mr Chape’s power comes through an SMA Sunny Is­land sys­tem, which al­lows dis­con­nec­tion from the elec­tric­ity grid.

“These sys­tems were de­signed for a small off-the­grid net­work in a re­mote vil­lage,” he said.

“But ex­pand your mind and think of your block in a sub­urb as an is­land.

“Think of a co-op­er­a­tive where mem­bers hold shares which fund the cap­i­tal cost of the in­stal­la­tion of the grid.

“Each home on the street would cre­ate a satel­lite sys­tem where they all gen­er­ate their own so­lar power, with sur­plus power sent back to the grid for oth­ers in the street to call on when re­quired.

“The cost of draw­ing power this way would be sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper than what cus­tomers are cur­rently pay­ing for elec­tric­ity from Syn­ergy.”

How­ever, Mr Chape said he was told dis­tribut­ing en­ergy to his neigh­bours would re­quire a dis­tri­bu­tion li­cence from the Depart­ment of Fi­nance.

Marty’s House is one of more than 20 that will be open on Sus­tain­able House Day on Septem­ber 16.

www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d486119 Pic­ture: David Baylis

Martin Chape in his back­yard with his so­lar power sys­tem.

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