Lynne Edwell of Aldershot has got little value after installing an expensive solar power system recently.
Lynne Edwell of Aldershot has got little value after installing an expensive solar power system recently.

Solar rip-off

A SAVING of $12 per quarter wasn’t exactly what Lynne and John Edwell had in mind when they forked out $6000 to have a solar hot water system and energy panels installed at their Aldershot home last year.

To their great disappointment, that’s the average amount they’ve been saving so far – despite Federal Government promises of cutting down their annual energy bill by 75 per cent.

“I am so disappointed and feel like I have to warn others,” Ms Edwell said. “There’s all this hype about all this money you’re going to be saving ... but you’re not told the whole story.”

Ms Edwell said she and her husband decided they would try to be as “green as possible” when they moved from Western Australia to Aldershot last April.

“With the help of Federal Government rebates we had a solar hot water system and solar energy panels installed, which cost us about $6000. This was all our savings.”

Opening their first electricity bill 84 days later, the couple were astonished to find they had only saved a grand total of $7.

“I called up the company who installed it and said ‘Hey, there’s something wrong here’ and it wasn’t until then I was told the solar energy system is really designed for younger people who aren’t going to be in the house between the hours of 8am and 3pm.

“That is when the energy costs are around 44 cents per unit as opposed to 19 cents outside of these times.”

For the next 95 days, Ms Edwell said the couple “lived like hermits” throughout the day in an attempt to keep their electricity bill down.

Opening up their second bill, however, they were again gobsmacked by their saving – this time it was just $18.

“We tried so hard to keep our bill down and then to see that was all we’d saved, it was just like – what was the point?

“We could have spent our savings on a new rainwater tank or floor coverings instead.”

Information as part of the Solar Hot Water Rebate on the Department of Environment website guarantees that a solar hot water system would help people save money on power bills and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.

It also says that by installing a climate friendly hot water system families could save up to $700 off their energy bills each year or “75 per cent per year on the hot water component of your electricity bill.”

Ms Edwell said she was mainly upset she wasn’t told about the fine print before the solar system was installed.

“We truly believed all the wonderful things that were being said – not only were we doing the right thing for the environment but also saving considerable money.

“It feels like everyone’s got their money and walked away.

“It’s never going to pay me back in my lifetime. We just want to say to people: ‘get the facts first’.”

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