Owner of Condamine Vet Clinic in Warwick Cathy Marlton, with staff Sarah Fischer, Lucie Manifold and Zoe Cox are reaping the benefits of solar panels.
Owner of Condamine Vet Clinic in Warwick Cathy Marlton, with staff Sarah Fischer, Lucie Manifold and Zoe Cox are reaping the benefits of solar panels. Candyce Braithwaite

The epic power of sunlight

SOLAR panels are popping up all over the Southern Downs.

There are panels on homes, businesses and even solar panel farms.

So what is so attractive about them? And how cost-effective are they?

Owner of Condamine Vet Clinic in Warwick Cathy Marlton is into everything eco-friendly.

"Putting solar panels on the roof is one of the best decisions we've made," Mrs Marlton said.

"The surgery runs off the power and we feed energy back into the grid. Ever since we've had the panels, our electricity bills have been non-existent."

Stanthorpe cherry grower Graham Minifie, of Cherry Park, runs a 60kW solar farm.

"We have around 400-500 panels," Mr Minifie said.

"We no longer see a power bill.

"It was quite a large outlay but we are seeing the returns every day."

Total solar PV installations on the Southern Downs last year was 2244.

The PV systems collectively have the capacity to produce up to 8.4MW.

Locality totals include: Allora 66, Killarney 56, Maryvale 31, Warwick 806, Yangan 41, Applethorpe 41, Ballandean 31, Glen Aplin 37, Severnlea 48, Stanthorpe 356, The Summit 46.

Across regional Queensland, there were 68,517 solar PV installations at the end of January, with almost 210 megawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity feeding into Ergon's network.

The number of solar energy systems connected in 2012 was almost double the number installed in 2011.

One in seven detached homes in regional Queensland - about 15% - now has a solar PV system.

It's estimated up to 30,000 more solar systems will be connected in 2013.



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