Last night I attended my first meeting of the [Jamberoo FutureCare](http://jamberoofuturecare.googlepages.com/) group. What a great meeting!
The members are all very switched-on people, with a wide variety of knowledge and experience in different aspects of sustainability. It was reallly encouraging and motivating for me to meet people like that so close to home.
We discussed the success of the solar hot water information evening held late last year in Gerringong. The suppliers were extremely happy, signing up dozens of households for quotes, and feedback from the public was very positive. Other groups are now interested in holding similar nights in Wollongong and Shellharbour areas this year, which would be fantastic. That information evening was a big factor in my family choosing to install solar hot water.
A similar style of information evening is now being planned around rooftop grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems. Jamberoo FutureCare will be coordinating a bulk purchase scheme through a selected supplier – purchasers will benefit from a group discount of around 10-15% (depending upon final numbers involved), and the supplier will benefit by being able to purchase the components in bulk and have tradespeople spend time in the one area carrying out all the installations. Final cost is expected to be around $3000-$3500 for a standard 1 kW grid-connected solar power system, although participants will be able to tailor the system to their own needs (e.g. higher capacity inverter, more or less panels, different types of panels, etc).
If you’d like to find out more and live anywhere in the Illawarra, download the rooftop PV solar power system expression of interest flyer and contact Jamberoo FutureCare to register your interest. Don’t worry about the dates in the flyer -we are still collecting names! There is no commitment and nothing to pay at this stage, we just want to gauge the level of interest and get some idea of numbers so we can negotiate a good deal. There will probably be two separate bulk purchases made, one before solar rebates change on June 30 (best for those with a household income under $100,000) and one after that date (best for those with a household income over $100,000).
More information on the solar power information evening will be coming soon, and there will be opportunity to join the bulk purchase scheme at that time.
We also discussed topics like planting fruit and nut trees on nature strips, encouraging home vegetable gardening, community gardens, film nights, swapping excess produce, sustainable house tours, and submitting articles to local newspapers for publication.
What I really liked about the Jamberoo FutureCare group is the emphasis on action rather than philosophical debate. Everyone involved in these types of organisations already understands the issues, what is needed is action within the community. The JFC group is getting things done, making changes for the better, and actively encouraging the wider community to think more about sustainability.
If you have a similar community group in your area, I would really encourage you to go along to a meeting. It’s wonderful talking to a group of people who understand where you’re coming from, and who will motivate you to keep going.