Community solar powering aged care in Geelong

Dan CowdellNews

Today our Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) project hit new heights with the announcement the Victorian Government is providing $140,000 towards our community solar investment model!

The funding will establish the first replicable community solar investment model in Victoria and enable Geelong Sustainability to co-ordinate community driven renewable energy projects in Geelong, starting with a 149kW solar investment initiative at the Multicultural Aged Care (MACS) facility.

Member for Geelong Christine Couzens announced the funding today at the aged care facility and met with members of the Geelong Sustainability and MACS. Funding for this project comes from the second round of the Victorian Government’s $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund (NEJF).

During the announcement event a number of speeches were made. Read the speeches below.

The project at MACS will consist of 149kW of solar in total, 99kW on the Residential Care building and 50kW on Bella Chara. It will consist of over 500 solar panels.

It will reduce emissions by 210 Tonnes of CO2 per year. That’s equivalent to taking 60 cars off the road per year, or planting 1474 trees each year.

We are expecting the project to be open for community investment early in 2018, and the solar system to be installed by mid-2018.

We have a register of interest for community members who would like more information about the investment offer when it is ready in early 2018. Register your interest in the CORE project here.

Community Solar Project in the News

Investors back aged care solar project
Geelong Advertiser – Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017 – Page 4

GRASSROOTS investors are largely bankrolling a largescale solar energy project at a Geelong aged care facility.

The model, a Victorian-first initiative, will be launched at the Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) complex in North Geelong.

More than 500 solar panels will be installed at the site, delivering a total of 149kW of energy .

The $402,700 venture is being led by Geelong Sustainability , which has high hopes of rolling out further projects across the city.

“We have identified potential for many more community solar installations following our first project,” Geelong Sustainability project co-ordinator Dan Cowdell said.

The State Government has lent its support to the community solar investment model, providing $140,000 towards the MACS development .

It will mostly be funded by local investors, with 20 individuals expected to contribute about $10,000 each.

Mr Cowdell said businesses agreed to lease the use of the solar system from Geelong Sustainability in return for a monthly fee.

The revenue generated goes back to community investors until the system is paid off.

At the end of the term, the solar energy system is handed over to the local business

“It sets up a win-win-win scenario,” Mr Cowdell said.

“Community investors get a return on investment, local organisations get solar for zero upfront costs, and of course there is the environmental outcome with more clean energy in Geelong.”

Geelong MP Christine Couzens said the project would cut MACS’ energy costs by more than $29,000 in the first year alone.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our region,” she said.

“This project will contribute towards delivering the renewable energy target of 40 per cent by 2025, increasing the uptake of renewable energy generation and reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

State funds push for solar savings
Geelong Independent – Friday, 13 Oct 2017 – Page 15

A $403,000 “community solar investment” will save an aged care facility $29,000 on electricity annually, according to the office of Geelong MP Christine Couzens.

State Government contributed $140,000 to the Geelong Sustainability Group project at Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS), her office confirmed.

Geelong Sustainability “hit new heights” with the State funding, co-ordinator Dan Cowdell said.
The group now planned similar projects at other Geelong businesses and not-for-profit organisations, he said.

Under the group’s Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) model participants leased solar systems from “community investors”, Mr Cowdell explained.

Participants saved on electricity during the lease term then owned the system outright after the final payment, he said.

“This project really is win-win-win. Community investors get a return on investment, local organisations get solar for zero upfront costs, and of course the environment wins with more clean energy generated in Geelong.”

The aged care project would remove 210 to tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, “equivalent to taking 60 cars off the road per year or planting 1474 trees each year”, Mr Cowdell said.

Ms Couzens said Victoria’s “first replicable community solar investment model” tapped the state’s $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund.
“We are fighting climate change through meaningful community engagement, protecting our environment for future generations,” Ms Couzens said.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our region. This project will contribute towards delivering the renewable energy target of 40 per cent by 2025, increasing the uptake of renewable energy generation and reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

Lara MP John Eren said the project demonstrated the state government’s commitment to “providing real energy solutions for the future of Victoria”.

“Through the New Energy Jobs Fund we are securing Victoria’s future as a competitive, innovative and outward-looking economy,” Mr Eren said.

“Renewables are the future of our energy mix and through initiatives like this we are improving Victoria’s renewable energy capabilities.”