As part of our democratic #CoPowerBudget, customer members voted to allocate $7,250.00 towards investing in community-owned renewables. The main stipulation of this investment would be that it was via a revolving fund. At its core, a revolving fund is one that lends to community organisations on an interest free basis for them to purchase renewable and efficiency infrastructure. The community organisations pay back the revolving fund from the savings in their energy costs. The revolving fund can then lend that same money back out to another community organisation. It is, therefore, a way for a sum of money to cycle through a community with a positive impact that continues over time.
This year, we allocated the $7,250.00 to the Ballarat Renewable and Zero Emissions Inc.’s (BREAZE Inc) Social Solar Fund. BREAZE Inc are one of our member organisations, that is they are one of our civil society owners. BREAZE Inc is a not-for-profit association and registered charity dedicated to supporting sustainable living and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) across the broader Ballarat region. The BREAZE Inc. Social Solar revolving fund is dedicated to facilitating the uptake of energy-saving resources in the not-for-profit sector, enabling regional not-for-profits to cut their energy costs and GHG emissions.
In recent years, BREAZE Inc Social Solar has assisted social housing providers, disability service providers, and community infrastructure by facilitating their uptake of rooftop solar and/or batteries. The BREAZE Social Solar revolving fund’s next investment are three new assisted-accommodation units built and managed by Ballarat’s McCallum Disability Inc.
In the past, BREAZE Social Solar has invested in the following projects:
With the addition of the latest project, which enables the installation of 6.5kW on the first of three new accommodation units at McCallum Disability Inc., the total energy value installed is 459kW and 67.4 kWh.
The Social Solar revolving fund operates in tandem with the BREAZE Public Fund, the registered charity arm, which is on the register of Environmental Organisations and has responsibility for managing public donations to BREAZE Inc. Funding contributed to BREAZE social solar has in the last few years come from various sources, including DELWP’s Grampians Renewable Energy Fund, and the New Energy Jobs Fund – rounds 5 & 6, and Sustainability Victoria.