211 Geelong households go solar = 4 solar systems donated to locals in need

Jonathan WrightNews

Local Community Solar Programs make going solar affordable and accessible to everyone, in an effort to build Australia’s first large scale virtual power plants. But, they also feature an important 'give back' component to help households and community organisations in need. 

Last year 211 households made the switch to solar as part of our first Geelong Sustainability  Community Solar Program in collaboration with Shinehub. These households are now reaping the benefits of the solar lifestyle, but they have also made an incredible difference in their local community.

As a result of the 2018 Geelong Community Solar Program, Geelong Sustainability joined forces with Shinehub, with additional support from the Rotary Club of Geelong, to donate 4 solar systems to very worthy recipients. Check out the details below!

Samaritan House, Geelong

Samaritan House is a not-for-profit crisis centre for men. As winter is now upon us, Samaritan House will be a place that provides warmth, comfort and support for those seeking respite.

But, bill burden stemming from soaring electricity prices has made it difficult for this amazing organisation to maintain comfortable temperatures by heating and cooling the house as necessary.

So, we’ve installed a solar solution. In partnership with Geelong Sustainability and with the support of the Rotary Club of Geelong, we have installed a 6kW panel and 17.1kWh battery system that will enable Samaritan House Geelong to continue to provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment for people in need. 

Brian Sherwell from Samaritan House is delighted with the outcome “The community funded solar installation will allow a saving on power bills in excess of $5000 per annum, and with this saving it enables Samaritan House to use its funds to further support the homeless community of Geelong.  We were able to see from data on site that even on the dullest of days we were generating power that is being stored on the battery system enabling very productive grid power saving”.

Colleen, Geelong West VIC

Colleen suffers from a genetic neuro-muscular condition affecting her mobility and respiratory system.

As such, she is in constant use of a ventilator, uses and subsequently charges an electric wheelchair and needs a powered medical bed. All of this equipment is essential to maintaining Colleen’s livelihood, but they are extremely electricity intensive.

Colleen has struggled with the soaring costs of electricity, and managing her household income whilst on the Disability Pension. The solar system we’ve donated to Colleen will make a huge difference in improving her quality of life. 

Justine, Marshall VIC

Justine is an amazing local artist who struggles everyday with her health. She battles MS and cancer. Just like Colleen, she survives on the Disability Pension and electricity prices place a huge burden on her household budget. In fact, her power bills are over 15 percent of her annual income.

Of all the challenges that life has thrown at Justine, power poverty shouldn’t be amongst them. We hope the solar system we have donated to Justine helps to make her life a little easier.  

Kostrz Family, Clifton Springs VIC

The Kostrz family have had a rough couple of years. Following their recent move to the area, Mrs Kostrz suddenly passed away with an aggressive tumour. Four months later, Mr Kostrz was diagnosed with cancer, needing major surgery. Their daughter, Krysia is studying fulltime and working on her career in order to support her father into the future. 

Krysia studying full time, along with funeral and medical costs, have put a huge strain on the family. Krysia’s mother was a passionate environmentalist, helping to introduce household recycling to South Australia in the 90s. 

We hope the solar system we donated to the Kostrz family helps to ease their cost of living pressures at this difficult time, as well as honouring Mrs Kostrz’s passion for the environment.