Powering home, and next door
Having grown up on the Surf Coast and embracing the coastal lifestyle, Gary’s roots in the area date back to 1984, when Gary Ablett Snr. bought a block of land in Jan Juc. Only recently did the family decide to sub-divide the land, creating one home for mum Sue, and another for Gary Ablett Jnr, his wife Jordan and their two children.
"I spent a lot of my childhood here in Jan Juc, and it's just a great lifestyle. It's a beautiful coastline, and it's important that we protect it any way we can," Mr Ablett Jr said.
While many people would be wary of living so close to their parents, having dedicated the past 19 years of his life to football, Gary is cherishing having family so close, and to having a helping hand in the garden.
After noticing her son’s electricity bill was much smaller than her own, Sue and Gary began investigating installing solar panels and batteries in each home.
“The money that we’re saving in our bill is fantastic, we get the bonus of being better for the environment, and the employment that is gives to so many people as well. It’s a win-win in all situations,” said Sue.
While Gary Ablett Jr. brought the AFL Premiership cup to reside in his hometown twice over his AFL career, bringing solar to Greater Geelong will be one of his most enduring achievements.
"It's great to be working with the RACV Solar installation team, they're professional, reliable, and it's great to know they're local. I wanted to ensure I chose the best quality product and service for mum, my family, and my community," Mr Ablett Jr. said.
The Geelong Community Solar Program
As one of the largest community solar bulk-buying programs, the Geelong Community Solar Program allows individual households and businesses to access affordable and quality clean energy systems while concurrently supporting the local economy and local jobs.
Open until the end of December 2021, the program is open to more than 370,000 residents across 9000 square kilometres in Victoria’s southeast.
Led by community advocacy group Geelong Sustainability, RACV Solar along with energy services provider Mondo were trusted to deliver the program. The program also has the support of all five councils in the G21 region – Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Colac Otway, Golden Plains and Borough of Queenscliffe, along with business, and community groups.
This latest initiative has expanded RACV’s commitment to clean energy through its own solar business and extensive investment in energy-efficiency measures across RACV resorts, club facilities, and offices.
While some Local Government Areas in Victoria, including a number in the East and Northeast of Victoria, have had high adoption rates of solar power at home – with some areas boasting 30 per cent of dwellings embracing solar power, the Greater Geelong region is lagging behind with only 20.9 per cent of homes adopting solar, while the Surf Coast has a solar uptake of 23.5 per cent..
RACV Solar CEO Andy McCarthy has applauded those taking part in the program and says the program has been an overwhelming success. "Households and businesses get the benefit of accessing quality, affordable solar and battery storage, with peace of mind knowing that they'll be looked after well into the future. We see renewable energy as a chance to do it all; lower energy bills, create local jobs, and look after the environment.”
For each system installed through the program, a commitment has been made for one solar panel to be donated towards the installation of another solar system on a local community facility.