Case study: why this household installed solar while renovating

For the Easterbrooks, adding a 5kW solar system during their renovation was a no-brainer. Here’s how they did it.

Sandy and Caroline Easterbrook are self-confessed serial renovators. “We’ve done work on three houses over the past 30 years, so we’re old hands,” Sandy said.

Two years ago, the retired couple moved into their current residence, a semi-detached house on a wide, tree-lined street in Alexandria. Working with an architect, they devised several ways to enhance the house, including gutting the kitchen and bathroom.

“Both Caroline and I are quite keen cooks, but whoever designed the kitchen obviously was not a cook,” Sandy explained. “It was impossible for 2 people to work in there.”

They were also keen to install rooftop solar. “It simply made sense for us to add the solar while everything else was going on. We spoke to the architect and he said we could add our solar proposal to the main DA (development application) for the renovations.”

Adding solar installation to an existing DA is a hassle-free process. According to Stan Fitzroy-Mendis, Area Coordinator, Planning Assessments for the City of Sydney: “If you have a DA for general alterations and additions to a dwelling, a Section 4.55 modification of consent is all that’s needed to add the rooftop solar.”

Sandy and Caroline began researching rooftop solar while the architect worked on the designs for the new kitchen and bathroom. “We organised it and negotiated the quote ourselves,” Sandy said. “Then, when everything was ready, we passed the information on to the architect.”

Sandy said installing solar was the simplest part of their home-improvement plan. Today, the Easterbrooks’ 10-panel system is up and running, providing the house with a substantial proportion of its energy needs. Sandy said he and Caroline particularly enjoy cooking in the new-and-improved kitchen during the day knowing that their endeavours are solar powered.

“Next on our list is a solar battery, but we’re waiting for the economics of that to make a bit more sense,” Sandy said.

Learn from other City residents and businesses

All across our local government area, residents switching to greener sources of electricity. Here are a few of their stories:

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