AS a 15-year-old, Gabor Bencze was inspired to become part of the climate change movement after reading three sentences in a dry technical book in a Hungarian library:
The 19th century was the age of coal.
The 20th century was the age of oil.
The 21st century is going to be the age of solar.
“They were like a quote,” Bencze tells the Herald.
“I thought, I have to have that book.”
After checking the librarian wasn’t watching, he slipped the technical tome into his backpack and headed home, where the prose continued to inspire.
Three years later, Bencze headed to the UK to become an electrician, specialising in solar power.
“The concept of photovoltaics, converting light into energy it sunk in,” he says.
“On the first day of qualifying I was on a roof in England as a solar installer.”
During his years in the UK, Bencze taught solar installation to unemployed people to help them find work.
Australia, with its endless sunshine beckoned, and four years ago he headed down under to continue his career in the clean energy sector.
His clients are many and varied, including WA police and other state government agencies.
Keen to demonstrate that solar is the energy of the future, he’s building three “off-grid” and “cutting-edge” homes near Fremantle.
With storage batteries they’ll enjoy free power from the sun, day and night, Bencze says.
“This country, with this climate, has the ability to make this happen.”
He believes state and federal governments are dragging their heels with the coal versus green energy debate.
“People have to come on board at a local level and not wait about for government to combat climate change,” he says.
Recently Bencze donated a solar system to St Patricks in Fremantle, after he heard the shelter had a funding shortfall and was stopping its weekend meals for the homeless.
“I hope it decreases the financial pressure and hopefully they can continue to be able to supply free meals to those who need them the most,” he says.
SolarLuna will be installing the system at the next full moon, and Bencze hopes it will be an event, and locals will come down “and even perhaps bring a donation to St Patricks.”
For more information check out http://www.facebook.com/SolarLunaAU/
by JENNY D’ANGER