Every sunny day is a good day if you own a solar PV system. But the greatest day for solar comes once a year, with the summer solstice. Sounds like a great day for a solar-powered party, and that’s what’s happening on the forecourt of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art on Thursday December 21.

The Off the Grid festival will pump up the bass thanks to a 7-metre-high array of 40 Suntech 260W solar panels connected to a Selectronic multi-mode inverter, two Selectronic-certified ABB inverters and a bank of Ecoult batteroff-the-grid-solar-stageies.

Things kick off at noon, when the Suntech panels will be pumping out maximum power (so long as it’s not overcast). A few speakers will have their say about the green life, including zero-waste café entrepreneur Joost Bakker, Rob Murray-Leach of the Energy Efficiency Council and 1 Million Women CEO Natalie Isaacs, but then the fun starts with DJs, performance artists and musicians.

“It definitely becomes a party in the true sense of the word,” says Finding Infinity founder and executive director Ross Harding. “That will run into the evening … there’s lots of stuff happening.”

But what happens when the sun goes down and the gig runs out of power? “Hopefully they get some sunny days in advance and they’ll be storing the power in the battery bank,” he says.

Off the Grid is in its second year and is organised and funded by Finding Infinity, a group of young Melburnians encouraging the city to advocate the change to renewable energy.


“We’re trying to empower the people of Melbourne to challenge the way their city works,” says Harding. “The transition to 100% renewable energy is inevitable and financially viable, but it’s still happening far too slowly. We’re trying to speed it up by throwing the most kick ass party Melbourne has ever seen.”

“When Off the Grid approached us to become a partner we said yes straight away – the event is perfectly aligned with our vision to green the future together and it’s a great showcase for what solar energy can do,” says SF Suntech Australia managing director Hui Wu. “We are thrilled to support such an exciting initiative.”

Photos: Ollie Clifton, X-Ray Vision.