Electricity costs for an Engadine community centre are expected to be cut by $1200 a year following the installation of a solar system, which was partly paid for through a crowd funding campaign.
The 5kW system was installed for Engadine Flexicare and Education, which has provided occasional child care and other services to the local community for more than 30 years.
More than $1100, or about 20 per cent of the cost, was met by donations to a crowd funding campaign by Sutherland Shire community energy group Sunny Shire.
The remainder of the funding was provided in an interest free loan from CORENA (Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network), a not-for-proft organisation that relies on voluntary contributions from the public to fund practical renewable energy projects.
Engadine Flexicare and Education will repay the loan over four years, with repayments being lower than the electricity savings. The solar system is expected to have a 25-year life.
Committee President Nicola McMahon said, “With rising electricity costs, we knew solar could save us money on our bills, so we reached out to Sunny Shire to see if they could assist”.
“Utilising community fundraising and an interest-free loan means we didn’t have to find the money to fund the solar up front, and can continue budgeting for our core services,” she said.
CORENA has funded more than 25 similar solar projects for community organisations, with loan repayments from Engadine to help fund the next project.
Sunny Shire, a sub-group of the Sutherland Shire Environment Centre, is a volunteer-based, not-for-profit organisation that was formed last year to advocate for greater adoption of solar, batteries, electric vehicles and energy efficiency in the shire.
Solar bulk buys co-ordinated by Sunny Shire have resulted in more than 125 installations in the shire.