SBCG Solar Panels

Getting Solar-The Man Behind the Panels

Getting solar for our garden has been a goal for many years. And, in many ways, a lofty one at that. At least, when one considers that a little over 14 years ago, our current, 122 plot, community garden didn’t even have reliable access to water.

But that was then and over the years the lil’ community garden that knew it could, persisted; plugging away little by little.

And then it happened…

Compliments of a generous grant from the Tugun Branch of Bendigo Bank, we’d finally manage to be gifted the necessary funds to secure our very own 6.4 kw solar system.

But unbeknownst to us at the time, securing these funds would prove to be the easy part.

Roy Rudder
The Man Behind the Panels

And of the garden’s almost 275 members, no one understands this more than Roy Rudder. Because it’d be the 67-year-old Roy who selflessly volunteered his services to oversee the solar installation process.

To the self-proclaimed electronics nerd, the decision to step up to the task was a no-brainer. Afterall, he reasoned, his background seemed perfectly suited for the task at hand. That background included:

  • Extensive hands-on experience in audio equipment installation…
  • And eleven years in project management for Austar Communications where he directed and oversaw up to 160 contractors at a time.

As such, helping the SBCG Committee get their solar project across the goal line didn’t strike him as particularly Herculean or daunting.

It was just a little community garden, after all. One he and his wife, Lynn joined in back in February of 2022. Their intentions had been straightforward enough.

They were interested in meeting like-minded gardeners focusing on fruits, vegetables and herbs. Not long after that, Roy said, they were soon introduced to natural plant and herbal cures and nutrition support.

Roy says he and his wife were immediately attracted to the easy-going and open layout of the garden, low plot fees, friendliness of the members and the willingness of everyone to help each other. Especially that of Michael Lee whose carpenter and handyman expertise around the garden caught Roy’s attention.

And when Michael began building support frames for the garden’s donated aquaponic tanks and pump system, Roy was more than happy to lend his expertise in installing the small solar panel, back-up battery and inverter. Not long after, Roy found himself an active SBCG committee member acting in the capacity of Ordinary Voting Member.

Which is how he found himself with his hand up, happily volunteering to see the SBCG solar panel project to fruition. It was a project he expected would require a handful of phone calls and perhaps a few meetings in the garden.

SBCG Solar PanelsToday, Roy chuckles at his naivete.

“All my experience up to that point had been in the private sector,” he says. “I had no idea the amount of red tape I was in store for.”

In the end, the process of getting the solar panels installed and connected to the grid would require 13 long months. Months that saw Roy liaising between the garden committee, solar power providers, various government departments, engineering companies, an electricity retail outlet and a local community centre.

Meetings in the garden, endless phone calls, emails and follow up emails came and went. Monthly updates at committee meetings often left many with more questions than answers. The less determined would’ve easily buckled beneath the endless barrage of How’s and Whys.

But through it all, Roy never faltered. And, in the process, he perfected the art of being the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. Each and every hiccup, speed hump and fork in the road duly noted and recorded in precise detail to be acted upon.

Until eventually, SUCCESS would be had…and the lil’ community garden that knew it could, became the lil’ garden that did.

And, in the process, one Ordinary Voting Committee Member demonstrated he is anything but.