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Community Projects

Enova Community works with community and not-for-profit organisations to facilitate access to renewable energy for a wide range of groups, including people on lower incomes and groups with limited funds.

Solar Gardens

A Solar Garden enables people who are locked out from having solar on their rooftops, to participate in the renewables transition, allowing them to buy solar panels and receive their benefit in the form of credit on their electricity bill. 

Enova Community is creating the first Solar Garden in the NSW Northern Rivers. It is also seeking interest from more small to medium size businesses with significant energy use to be Solar Garden host sites.

‘Solar Gardeners’ purchase solar panels, in turn receiving solar credits on their electricity bills. Long after the panels have paid for themselves customers will continue to receive credits on their bill. 

Solar gardens are designed for people who are renting, living in apartments, moving, or in houses that are shaded, or who are not able to afford to invest in a solar system. 

So if you have ever wanted to have your own solar panels, then this is the solar solution for you. Want to get started now? Read more details or register here and we’ll be in touch.

What is a microgrid?

microgrid diagram solar powered community projects

Microgrids are gaining attention as a great way for streets, apartment blocks and industrial estates to band together to be energy independent and cut costs using renewables like rooftop solar.

A microgrid is designed so that a small number of property owners and tenants can generate, share and store their own energy.

Microgrid participants who have their own renewable source, like rooftop solar, generate energy to power their own building. 

Excess energy is then supplied to others in the collective microgrid community who do not have the roof space or capital to buy solar panels.

Any excess energy generated beyond that can be stored in a centralised super battery for reuse within the microgrid community, or sold back to the main grid.  The microgrid can stay connected to the main grid to sell excess and ensure continuity of energy supply.

Circular economy

By sharing renewable energy that is locally generated, stored and distributed, people can cut their energy costs while reducing carbon emissions.

It also helps keep money local so that instead of spending money outside the region, dollars stay circulating in the community, providing jobs, and helping fund local initiatives.

More than 30 businesses taking part

Enova is the leading partner in a microgrid pilot project at Byron Bay Arts & Industry Estate, in collaboration with Essential Energy, LO3 Energy, Wattwatchers and the University of NSW. 

More than 30 businesses in an industrial estate are taking part in this project and it’s the first of what we hope will be many self-sufficient electricity microgrids Enova helps to roll out. 

We aim to develop a model that can be copied by communities across NSW and ultimately Australia – starting with industrial estates and similar commercial areas, and eventually residential areas.

“The expected impact for a tenant is $420 saving a year.”

Sandi Middleton
Manager Enova Community Energy

“I kept hearing the power was going to go up so I stopped using the power completely. Now I am using my oven all the time. I feel so liberated.”

Gail
Tenant, St George Community Housing

“Very quick and smooth, next minute the solar panels were up.”

Matt
Tenant, North Coast Community Housing

“Let’s see if we can we provide solar to the people in our community that would most benefit from it!”

Tony Pfeifer
Board Director, Enova Community Energy

Community housing

In 2018, Enova Community partnered with North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) and the Office of Environment and Heritage on a low-income solar housing project. More than 80 tenants across the Northern Rivers benefited from solar panels on 27 homes that NCCH owns and manages. 

Enova’s Energy Coaches also conducted home energy audits for participating low income residents, including teaching them how to reduce electricity consumption and save money.

In total 64kWh of solar were installed on 27 houses and combined with the energy saving measures initiated through the educational audits, tenants' bills are expected to reduce by around $420 a year.

Flood Assistance

LightnUp Inc. is a not-for-profit community organisation situated in the heart of Lismore. It runs the Lismore Lantern Parade, an annual community arts festival attracting over 300,000 people on or around the winter solstice: the longest night of the year.

After having their premises devastated by 3-metre flood waters in the wake of Cyclone Debbie, LightnUp Inc had to rely heavily on the generosity and kindness of the local community as it cleaned up its workshop and rebuilt lanterns in time for this year’s parade.

To help them thrive in their new location, Enova Community assisted them to access an interest free loan through CORENA to install energy efficient lighting and solar panels on their new building.

community solar Projects outreach

Solar for community organisations

RED Inc
RED Inc. was established 30 years ago and is a much loved disability services provider in the Northern Rivers. We’ve supported RED Inc. using the assistance of philanthropic co-funding and crowd funding to buy solar panels. This was Enova Community’s first social benefit project.

COREM
Enova Community has also partnered with COREM (Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby) to support other local community organisations to place solar panels on their rooftops, with an ongoing arrangement to contribute $1000 for Community groups supported by COREM’s revolving solar fund from the Enova Regional Development Initiative (RDI) Fund. Other groups that have been supported via this initiative to bring solar to the community, include Jasper Corner, the Federal Community Hall and the Mullumbimby Commons.

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