The Australian community solar movement continues to grow and evolve at a healthy rate. This is evidenced by the continued expansion of some of the nation’s most successful models such as Repower Shoalhaven and ClearSky Solar Investments. There is also a host of newly installed projects, now totalling over 70 nationwide.
The C4CE Community Energy Congress on 27-28 February was a busy and highly successful event.
Some highlights were:
- Keynotes from two of the world’s most respected voices in community energy: Soren Hermansen and Candace Vahlsing
- A reiteration of leadership support for a renewable transition from Vic Energy & Climate Change Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio
- The Energy Justice session, hosted by a group of Indigenous Australians and First Nation Canadians
- Breakout sessions including Working with RE Developers, Financing, Legals and Risk, Grabbing Headlines, Empowering Vulnerable Communities and Political Support.
We’re seeing more and more businesses make the smart choice to go solar. With many businesses experiencing major hikes in their energy costs over recent months it is becoming a clear way for businesses to increase their profits. With low interest, council backed loans (called ‘Environmental Upgrade Agreements’) now available in Moreland it’s also possible for owner occupiers – and tenants to access solar with no upfront costs.
Like so many people, MEFL staff had a stack of old technology at home cluttering up the drawers and wardrobes of our houses. We decided to do something about it. MEFL contacted PonyUp for Good to get a little help and do a little good. We bought all our old tech into the office and Pony Up came to pick it up.
How PonyUp works
PonyUp for Good is a social enterprise. They take your donated, smartphones, laptops and tablets, securely erase any data on them, then on-sell for reuse. The devices feel good about themselves as they’re reused for up to another seven years, providing affordable, working technology to folk in developing countries, while keeping toxic chemicals out of soil & waterways. The major kicker is: 50% of profits are donated to SecondBite, Australia’s fresh food crusaders, who last year, rescued 10 million kilograms of fresh food and redistributed it to over 1300 food programs nationally. That’s 55,000 healthy meals a day.
MEFL’s social enterprise Positive Charge has evolved in the four years since it was launched. Last year we found the need to update our website and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to keep up with the changes. The Positive Charge team has been working hard behind the scenes to create the new website and CRM.
It’s been a long process with a lot of consultation to try to get things right. The new website should be easier to navigate to find all the tips, hints and new articles relevant to you. It will also link up with the CRM in order to streamline some of our processes. The website and CRM will assist people wishing to request a quote from a carefully selected supplier, or book a service (such as an energy assessment) through Positive Charge. It also provides an easy way for people to stay in touch by subscribing to the Positive Charge eNews.
The Positive Charge team is very keen to make sure that the new website is intuitive, informative and relevant – we are keen to hear your feedback. Have a look at the new website and send us an email with any feedback, comments or suggestions.
The Victorian Government’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan was released last month. The Plan lays out the expected risks from climate change and the government’s principles and priorities for adaptation. You can download the full plan from the DELWP website but if you’re not ready to read all 81 pages, check out this short video made by NAGA’s Executive Officer David Meiklejohn. David explains the sectoral approach taken in the Adaptation Plan, with a focus on local government issues.
MEFL set up a Zero Carbon Evolution street stall on Sunday 5 March at the Sydney Road Street Party.
We spoke to lots of people, hearing your suggestions and providing lots of advice. Thanks to everyone who came and chatted to us. We heard about the actions being taken by people across the community – a big thank you for your efforts!
We shared the stall with Moreland Community Solar, so people got to find out what community solar is all about and what’s happening in Moreland.
As usual Sunny the Solar Bear was the star of the show, getting the crowd dancing and bringing a smile to everyone’s face.
People told us that the actions they had most commonly taken were:
- Saving energy
- Travelling smarter
- Switching lights to LED
- Saving water.
The actions people were most eager to take were:
- Go solar
- Find new ways to save energy.
People were also interested in how they could use their power through divestment and in making Moreland greener. For more info on the sustainability actions you can take, visit the Moreland Zero Carbon Actions page.
Many of us at MEFL ride bikes to work, but our Project Support Officer Elly Pattison outdid us all recently by pedalling from Melbourne to Canberra in the zoo2zoo ride. That’s 840km in six days, with some big hills along the way! Even better, Elly’s mum Jill rode with her.
Thirteen riders completed the Melbourne-Canberra ride, and 34 rode the second leg from Canberra to Dubbo. Altogether both groups raised almost $50,000 for the Black Dog Institute.
MEFL’s Renewables Broker Manny Pasqualini is a busy man; he’s also Director of Victorian Projects and Capacity Building at Community Power Agency.
Manny recently had an article published in the Border Mail (based in Albury-Wodonga), titled “The race to 100 per cent renewable town is on”.
The article begins:
Communities around the world are leading the way in the transition from polluting fossil fuels to clean renewables. Suburbs, small towns and, increasingly, entire cities are driving the change to an exciting future for 100 per cent renewable energy.
Towns like Newstead, Uralla, Lismore, Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour and countless others across the country are developing and implementing 100 per cent renewable policies…
MEFL has formed a partnership with Powershop to help Moreland’s community groups reduce their outgoings and carbon emissions by installing solar. MEFL is channelling funds raised through Powershop’s Your Community Energy initiative to local projects. Under this initiative Powershop customers pay a few cents extra per unit of power and this money is used to fund solar for not-for-profit or charitable organisations.