Stories

Solar pioneer delighted with investment

Jan 31, 2020

Services: Intyalheme

One of the Territory’s ear­li­est adopters of solar pow­er calls him­self a gree­nie cap­i­tal­ist” and says he’s delight­ed with the sav­ings he’s made thanks to renew­able energy.

arrow
Magnify DSC 0005

Alice Springs res­i­dent Ian Bac­chus with a col­lec­tion of solar pan­els which were installed in 2001.

Ian Bac­chus moved to Alice Springs at the start of the new mil­len­ni­um, relo­cat­ing from New South Wales, where he had already installed solar and was famil­iar with the rules.

I want­ed to have solar when I came up here, but the leg­is­la­tion wasn’t through, so all I got out of NT Par­lia­ment was a draft copy,” Mr Bac­chus said. 

A few con­ver­sa­tions lat­er, his inten­tions were approved, on the under­stand­ing that if the Gov­ern­ment changed its mind, the solar mod­ules would have to be removed. 

It was a bit risky, but it was tried and test­ed in NSW and I knew the tech­nol­o­gy was good, so I went for it,” he said. 

Here in Alice Springs we prob­a­bly have the best solar fac­to­ry in Aus­tralia.” Ian Bacchus

A new 5KW array has recent­ly been installed, replac­ing the 2001 sys­tem which made NT his­to­ry. PIC­TURE: Ian Bacchus

The instal­la­tion in 2001 became the first sin­gle phase solar pho­to­volta­ic rooftop array in the NT.

Mr Bac­chus recalled his ini­tial invest­ment for the 1.5KW sys­tem was around $18,500 with an addi­tion­al $8,000 in Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment subsidies. 

The recent instal­la­tion of a replace­ment 5KW sys­tem cost him $8,500, demon­strat­ing the incred­i­ble drop in the price of tech­nol­o­gy over two decades. 

Despite the com­par­a­tive­ly cost­ly ini­tial invest­ment, Mr Bac­chus has no regrets. He said the first sys­tem had def­i­nite­ly paid for itself, although a small mishap some­what cur­tailed its potential. 

I acci­den­tal­ly hosed my invert­er in the ear­ly days and killed a few pan­els, so it was nev­er putting out what it should have,” he said. 

It would have paid for itself three or four times (had all the pan­els been work­ing) but I know I’ve recouped more than it cost me.”

arrow
Magnify DSC 0001

It was base­line data from the 1.5KW sys­tem that was used in the bid for Alice Solar City. The data was col­lect­ed by Glenn Mar­shall, who worked for the Arid Lands Envi­ron­ment Cen­tre at the time and is cur­rent­ly the Gen­er­al Man­ag­er of the Intyal­heme Cen­tre for Future Ener­gy. The Solar Cities bid was successful.

It led to mil­lions of dol­lars of infra­struc­ture and fund­ing com­ing to Alice Springs, so it’s amaz­ing what a lit­tle butterfly’s wing beat does. Absolute­ly mag­ic,” said Mr Bacchus. 

Look­ing to the future, Mr Bac­chus said he would invest in house­hold bat­ter­ies only when they become cost-effec­tive” and he would wel­come any moves to prove the via­bil­i­ty of wind pow­er as an alter­na­tive renew­able resource locally. 

Asked what he liked about solar, Mr Bac­chus said the array helped to shade the house, and it cre­at­ed elec­tric­i­ty which con­vert­ed to money. 

I’m into tech, but I’m also into mak­ing mon­ey,” Mr Bac­chus said.

I’m an envi­ron­men­tal, gree­nie capitalist!”

Other DKA Stories

DKA Operations: COVID-19 Update

Mar 20, 2020

DKA team to begin working remotely, effective Monday, 23 March.

NT Chief Minister visits Intyalheme

Mar 18, 2020

The Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy has provided the Northern Territory Chief Minister with an update on its progress.

Living off-grid within Alice Springs

Feb 17, 2020

Trevor Hyman has produced his own power for more than two decades