Zero Emissions Solutions teamed up with Take 3 for the SeaMosman Council and environment conservation community groups for the Balmoral Seaside Scavenge in September.  Take 3 is known all over Australia for its educational programs that teach people about the problem of plastic pollution and inspire them to take action to protect the ocean.  

The event showcased local waste-wise and environmentally conscious initiatives while entertaining with music, face painting and art, and nourishing us with pedal-powered smoothies! We were delighted to participate in this fun, family-friendly day to share information about how to reduce emissions and protect our beautiful local environment.  

Our ZESN volunteers set up an information stall, giving out our Net Zero Guides and answering questions on everything from switching to renewable energy to rooftop solar and ethical investing.

We had a great lineup of Electric Vehicles – Tesla and Hyundai – along with their enthusiastic owners who could talk till the cows come home to anyone who wanted to know about EVs. There was a lot of interest from young and old, the curious and the skeptical.  

If bicycles are more your thing Lug+Carrie had a selection of eBikes available to try out.  Whether it’s for your daily commute or getting the kids to school, these eBikes make cycling a breeze and are designed to carry your kids or your shopping or your laptop.

With sunshine and blue skies, Balmoral Beach was at its beautiful best.  A great day made possible with our brilliant team of volunteers.

Thank you to our largest volunteer crew ever: Louise, Michael, Fay, Tony, Narween, Jenni Chris, Gill, Alan, Adrienne, Milo, Leesa, Leon, Kate, Ann-Charlott, Ursula, Daryl, with Marieken organising us,  plus Neroli from Lug+Carrie doing Tern e-cargo bike test rides!

Zero Emissions Schools Network had the honour of being the recipient of a Mosman Community Grant for 22/23 for the second year in a row!  This funding means the Zero Emissions Schools Network will be able to continue providing all the schools in the Mosman LGA with quarterly meetings, newsletters and one on one consulting. 

The Network is a great space to have schools collaborate, share and learn more ways they can become more sustainable. Thank you to Mosman Council and Mayor Corrigan for your ongoing support of the program.  

The ZESN Schools Network has been awarded the Mosman Community Grant for the second year in a row.

The energy and passion to become more environmentally sustainable is a delight to behold and the program highlights the value of networking together for a positive outcome.

Mayor Carolyn Corrigan, Mosman Municipal Council

About the ZESN Schools Program

The Zero Emissions Schools Program was designed and developed by Jenni Hagland (Program Leader), with Ursula Hogben (Co-Founder), in consultation with Loani Tierney, Environment Education Officer, Mosman Council. 

Engineer and ZESN solar leader Chris explains how virtual power plants work to harness renewable energy and reduce emissions. We are working with Clean Energy for Eternity and Clear Sky Solar Investments to help reach the Northern Beaches Council ambitious target of 50% of suitable premises in the LGA installing solar panels by 2030.

What is a Virtual Power Plant?

A Virtual Power Plant consists of a network of distributed solar power and battery systems co-ordinated by a central VPP operator that:

  • Releases some (or all) of the batteries’ stored energy into the grid during periods of peak demand when wholesale electricity prices are high.
  • May direct the batteries to charge from the grid when electricity demand is so low that grid stability is threatened.

How does it work

The provision of these grid services can be very lucrative for the VPP operator and they will share some of this benefit with their network members in different ways, including periodic fees, payment for battery energy used, and enhanced feed-in tariffs for exported energy, reduced consumption rates, etc.

By being part of a Virtual Power Plant you allow your battery to play an active role in the operation of the grid, supporting it in handling increasing levels of renewable energy – so it’s a good thing to do in principle. You’ll also get some financial reward.

But for this you’ll be giving up control of your battery to a third party, may find your battery has insufficient charge for your needs at times and will have your battery worked harder than if used by yourself alone.

A VPP operator will generally become your Retailer, or may operate through another designated Retailer.

Choose your VPP operator carefully

It’s really important to read the small print on any VPP offer, as the mix of rights (the operator’s) and benefits (yours) vary considerably and can be hard to understand and compare.

A couple of points to keep in mind: 

  • The VPP operator is focused on making money for themselves, not for you – and it’s your battery which is the asset they’re going to be using, so be sure you’re getting a fair slice of the benefits
  • The big ‘gentailers’ (Energy Australia, AGL, Origin) have a strong interest in maximising output and extending the life of their fossil fuel power stations, and excessive market power within the NEM, so consider if you want to give them control of your battery as well! Look instead for a VPP operator focused on renewable energy only.

In conclusion

If you do your research and decide you can put your battery to work in supporting the grid, and get more than enough benefit to compensate for the sacrifices, then go for it – but do so with an VPP operator that shares your commitment to renewable energy!

There are several sources comparing current VPP offers, including this one from Energy Matters.

Solarquotes  and Energy Matters have very good information about VPP on their websites, which we’ve drawn on substantially for this article.

Need assistance with solar for your business or home?

Chris Lee is happy to discuss solar for your business or house, you can email Chris here.

We’re glad you asked.

Subscribing to our newsletter is a great way to be involved. Sharing it with your friends and joining us on social media helps even more as we’re build a community of like-minded locals passionate about sustainability and low carbon living.

Looking for something more, something meaningful and fun? We would love you join our volunteer team! ZESN Volunteers working group has grant funding to expand our impact and we’ve launched Our Big Switch to help 100 local homes, businesses and schools make low carbon switches. Anyone interested can contact Ursula, Fay or Narween.

Electric car and Electric bike owners and displays

If you are delighted by your EV, or you are enjoying your electric bike, come and show it off at one of our regular EV show-and-tells. We hold these at least once a quarter at the Mosman Markets, and are looking at larger events. Contact Ursula, Alan or Chris and we can tell you all about it.

Zero Emissions Info Stall market team

Our friendly volunteer team is at Mosman Markets four times this year, and plans to new areas. Would you be interested in doing a stall on the Northern Beaches or North Shore? We provide equipment, signs, training and back-up. Contact Louise or Marieken for more details.

Social media – Facebook, Twitter, Insta & LinkedIn!

Between them, Ursula and Marieken do most of Zero’s social media. It’s a great way to build community, but it takes time! If you love twitter, are nifty on instagram, or want to launch the Zero Emissions Solutions Tiktok account, we want to hear from you. Contact Marieken to find out more.

Council Reps

Working with our local councils can be a rewarding and have real impact. We have representatives working with Mosman, Northern Beaches and North Sydney but would welcome people who want to get involved with councils including Willoughby and Lane Cove. Contact Ursula to find out more.

Presentations and Events

We’ve presented over 70 free information sessions on rooftop solar, renewable energy, EVs and more. Over the last three years, thousands of households have come to our presentations. We welcome people getting involved, either in organising presentations and events, or on centre stage! Contact Ann-Charlott or Ursula to find out more.

Schools Network

Last year Jenni Hagland, working with ZESN and Mosman Council. brought all eight schools in Mosman together to form the Zero Emissions Schools Network! The program continues this year, with plans to hold an Expo and awards ceremony later in the year. There’s lots to do, and huge amounts of enthusiasm. Join the team or find out more by contacting Jenni.

Collaborations and new ZESN programs are welcome!

We have successful co-branded collaborations with SolarPro, Diamond Energy, The Good Car Company and Mosman Council. We’re happy to discuss further collaborations!

Do you have big ideas? Are you wanting to make a difference? We’d love to help YOU. If you have an idea for an action or an initiative in the Northern Beaches or North Shore, we can help, whether it’s sharing information or contacts, acting as a sounding board, or even supporting you to develop a new program under the Zero Emissions Solutions brand umbrella. Let’s talk!

We’re onboard with the Northern Beaches Council ambitious target of 50% of suitable premises in the LGA installing solar panels by 2030

Our volunteers are collaborating with Clean Energy for Eternity and Clear Sky Solar Investments to help reach the Northern Beaches Council ambitious target of 50% of suitable premises in the LGA installing solar panels by 2030!

What if businesses covered their roofs in panels? Could they store excess electricity in batteries or even in electric cars or delivery vans? How about if solar uptake spread across a whole industrial estate? Could it power the whole thing?

Six months down the track we’ve asked many more questions, done a great deal of research and come up with a vision for Brookvale.

Big if. But worth a try.

Read on for the full media release which has more details about the collaboration on Powerhouse Brookvale. If you work or live or play in Brookvale, please spread the word.

This is where it all began: Zero Emissions Info Days at the monthly Mosman Market on the Village Green. Back in October 2020 we put up our marquee, signs and posters and gave out free zero emissions information. We had a wonderful day talking to people about saving money and sustainability and made lots of new friends.

Since then, we’ve held ten info days at markets, learning as we go, introducing new ways to interact including our Sun Pledge board, and our transport group volunteers bringing E-cars and E-bikes. We’ve had help along the way from Mosman Council, Energy Electric Bikes, Eat My Dust E-scooters and our wonderful volunteer community.

We’ve had great feedback and we’d like to help provide our free info to more areas. Would you like to help us expand to other markets on the North Shore and Northern Beaches? We’d love to hear from you!

We have opportunities for a team leader in each local LGA, and volunteers to come along wherever it suits them best. We provide the marquee, Tshirts, signs and information guides. No experience required: we can bring you up to speed with what has become well-oiled machine. You just need a passion for sustainability and a willingness to engage with like-minded people.

If you’re interested in joining in with one of our most rewarding volunteer activities we’d love to have you. Please contact Marieken, Louise or Ursula or fill out our volunteer form.

 

What is an Urban Renewable Energy Zone? Read on…

Imagine this. A clean, green, mini-power plant in the city where local businesses get paid for energy they collect from their roof; where cars and trucks are powered by the sun; where residences and businesses share energy storage; where having solar panels on your roof is not just smart, it’s normal.

It’s nearly here. Brookvale is home to the largest commercial area within the Northern Beaches and it’s also a powerhouse for renewable energy – 7000 solar panels producing 2 MWp. There are panels on car showrooms, hotels and office blocks, boutique brewers and coffee roasters. But there is room for so much more. Taking that number to 70,000 solar panels (which is 50% of Brookvale’s suitable roofs) is, well… You do the maths. 20 mW, the size of a small power station.

The trouble is, in spite of tax breaks, rebates and the best efforts of solar salesmen not enough businesses have jumped on the solar train. The obvious incentive – money – isn’t getting the attention of small business owners with day-to-day worries about Covid, cash flow and customers.

Zero Emissions Solutions volunteers are collaborating with Clean Energy for Eternity and Clear Sky Solar Investments to help reach the Northern Beaches Council ambitious target of 50% of suitable premises in the LGA installing solar panels by 2030. We’re putting early adopters – Solar Champions, we call them – together with skilled volunteers – Solar Ambassadors – to provide trusted peer-to-peer support, instead of the solar hard sell. We help with finance, we do the research, we fill in the forms. All businesses need is a roof.

The project launches officially in February of next year, but we’re already running pilot schemes and looking for Solar Ambassadors. And we’re thrilled to announce that we have just won a $5000 grant from the Northern Beaches Council towards the project.

If you’re a business owner or property owner in Brookvale, of if you feel inspired by the idea of an Urban Renewable Energy Zone, we’d love to hear from you.

https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/sustainable-urban-energy-future

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/04/renewable-energy-urban-city-emissions/

After a nutty first six months of the year for Zero Emissions Solutions the idea was to slow things down a little in July and August.

Hmm. About that… Here’s how the diary ended up looking.

July 20: Solar My House Webinar, with David Veal of Solarpro (recording here)

July 19: Mosman Council delivers our Sustainable Living Guide to 30,000 households

August 3: Mosman Council Climate Action Community Committee

August 4: Zero Emissions Schools Network – Mosman, hosted by Beauty Point Public School

August 5: Solar My House Webinar, with Ruth Irwin of Mosman Council (recording here)

August 17: Ann-Charlott spoke with Nigel Howard and Joeline Hackman of War on Waste Northern Beaches, discussing what local residents can do to reduce emissions (recording here)

September 9: Ursula spoke with Jo Taranto at Good for the Hood‘s Communities Reducing Emissions webinar (recording here)

September 21: Our Switch to Renewable Energy program launched at another BZE community, WinZero, in Wingecarribee Shire.

Zero Emissions in the news

Sydney Observer, September edition

Zero Emissions Schools Network in Mosman Living

But wait there’s more

Representatives from Zero Emissions Solutions also attended seminars and meetings with (in no particular order) Vote Earth Now, Infinite Australia, AEVA, Groundswell, BZE Renewable Industrial Precincts, the Climate Council, 350.org, 1millionwomen and C4C. In particular, we recommend Professor Lesley Hughes briefing on the IPCC report, in conjunction with Australian Parents For Climate.

We worked with Arnies Recon to launch free EWaste Community Collection days for the Northern Beaches including Avalon 2 Sept, Dee Why 9 Sept, Manly 13 Sept, Mosman 16 Sept.

Finally, we continue to work with Clean Energy for Eternity on a major project to create an urban renewable energy zone – watch this space!

So you’re interested in volunteering? In doing something meaningful and fun? In working with dynamic and inspiring people?

We’d love to have you.

Zero Emissions Solutions is an all-volunteer run community organisation working in Mosman and the Northern Beaches LGAs. We’re all about practical ways to take action on climate: things we can do that will have a real impact. No-one is going to solve the climate crisis on their own. Working together for zero emissions has to be the way forward.

Where to start?

Choose from a range of activities to match your skills and/or interests.

  • Solar My House is Zero Emissions Solutions flagship program. We’ve run over 30 events since 2019, reaching more than 300 households, creating guides, videos and case studies, and attending forums, local expos and online events. We’re always looking for people who are passionate about rooftop solar to get involved with organising events and taking this exciting program forward. You don’t need special skills, just enthusiasm for making a difference. If you can help, please contact Ann Charlott.
  • Zero Emissions Homes working group meets regularly and creates resources to save energy and emissions at home. They produce Council/LGA specific Sustainable Living Guides, the first was the Mosman Sustainable Living Guide provided to Mosman LGA’s 30,000 residents in mid 2021. They promote switching and supporting renewable energy to approx. halve household emissions. They also look at sustainable solutions including new house design, renovations, appliances, pools and policy. If you are interested in ecosmart retrofits, building trends and energy savings, please email Ursula on electric@zeroemissionssolutions.org

Out and about

  • The Zero Emissions Markets team launched our first market stall at Mosman in October last year. Since then, they’ve held 7 events. In 2022, their sights are set on exploring markets in the Northern Beaches. It’s a fun opportunity to meet like-minded volunteers and to have meaningful conversations with the local community. No experience required, just a big smile and an hour or two of your time! If you’re interested, please contact Lesley.
  • Zero Emissions Schools is run by Jenni Hagland and Liz Migliorini. They are responsible for the guides on our Schools page and they convene the Zero Emissions Schools Network (Mosman). If you’re involved in education, or if you’ve got school age children and want to get your school involved in sustainability, they would be keen to hear from you. Lots to do, from researching resources to project managing events. Please email Jenni on schools@zeroemissionssolutions.org

Zoom zoom

  • Zero Emissions Transport is run by Ursula and the Zero Emissions Transport working group. They’ve put together great resources and guides to help electrify your transport on our Electric Vehicles and Electric Bikes pages. They’ve reached over 250 households with Zero Emissions Transport info sessions, and held 7 E-Transport Markets show and tells with electric cars, bikes, scooters and motorcycles. They’ve investigated second hand EVs, hosted a test-drive day, compiled a report on Councils installing chargers, and are creating case studies on many EVs. If you have an EV or are interested in EVs, and would like to be involved, please email Ursula on electric@zeroemissionssolutions.org

And finally…

Working together for zero emissions

If you’re good with words, pictures, sounds, and any other form of story-telling, Harriet wants your help. She puts together the newsletter, website, this blog, marketing materials, and tries to keep up with social media. If you’re an introvert who wants to save the world, or a wordpress genius, if you’re an instagram maven or a budding film maker, a demon proof reader or someone who just likes a yarn, just say hello to Harriet on hello@zeroemissionssolutions.org

We look forward to hearing from you!

So you’ve switched to renewable energy, you’ve installed solar panels, you’re doing your bit. But what happens when the solar panels reach the end of their useful life. A recent story on ABC suggests that at the moment most solar panels are ending up in landfill. Which is not good.

What’s the solution? Recycling! Ann-Charlott Paduch has been following the recycle trail…

Solar Panels are classified as electronic waste. While they can still be dumped into landfill in most states at the moment, the Federal Government is looking to follow Victoria’s example to introduce mandatory recycling (similar to other e-waste such as computers and TVs). 

If you’re in Mosman, take advantage of Mosman Council’s recycling subsidy program by contacting mosmansolar@pvindustries.com.au. PV Industries is a leading recycling facility working with local government.

Other companies leading the recycling charge include:

Reclaim PV is the only dedicated solar panel recycling company in Australia at the moment. They are based in South Australia, but will pick up solar panels from anywhere in Australia for around $30 a panel.

EcoActiv is a Melbourne based company which picks up a range of items including solar panels, at a similar cost to Reclaim PV.

Arnie’s Recon is a Sydney-based social enterprise which will take ‘anything with an electrical cord’, including solar panels, and repair, repurpose or recycle. 


Many solar installers, including our solar installation partner, Solarpro, offer a recycling service for your old panels, usually for a small fee. 

You can find more details in our Solar Made Simple FAQs, which we regularly update.