A Geelong solar installation project has attracted over $150,000 from local investors in its first week.
CORE Geelong One will install a 156 kW solar energy system at Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) in North Geelong.
Geelong Sustainability is the organisation behind the project. The funds came from local community investors.
Project coordinator Dan Cowdell from Geelong Sustainability said he was surprised at the response.
“It’s an exciting project and our community-owned business model is a first for both our region and for the state,” he said.
“But we weren’t expecting the level of response we got from the community so quickly.
“The project is a huge step forward when it comes to Geelong’s carbon emissions reduction. It will reduce carbon emissions by 210 tonnes annually, which is equivalent to planting more than 1,470 trees per year or taking 60 cars off the road.”
Geelong solar installation pays off for investors
MACS will lease the solar generation system for 10 years. The lease fees will repay the principal investment plus interest to investors. At the end of the lease, MACS will pay one dollar and receive full ownership of the system.
Geelong Sustainability president Vicki Perrett said the demand for the project demonstrated how popular renewable energy was in regional Victoria.
“Back in 2014, the top response to a supporter survey identified the need for a bold renewable energy project in our region,” she said.
“After four years of research and development, we are very excited to witness the project’s immediate success. It’s a win-win-win project, delivering benefits for the aged care facility, for local investors and for the environment.”
Victoria’s growing community solar movement
The CORE Geelong One project is part of a growing movement of community solar initiatives across Victoria.
A community solar bulk-buy program in Central Victoria, MASH, has helped 800 households in the City of Greater Bendigo, and Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges Shires go solar since 2014.
In addition, Positive Charge is a social enterprise committed to providing trustworthy, low cost and up-to-date energy saving advice.
It also provides services and products to households, businesses, schools and community groups across Victoria and into New South Wales.
In addition, storage solutions like the Tesla Powerwall are also growing in popularity as communities make the most of solar.