A crowdfunded solar campaign in Melbourne aims to raise $30,000 to kick off the installation of a 15kW solar system on the roof of a community housing facility in the bayside suburb of St Kilda.
The ambitious project – which, http://www.thepeoplessolar.com/StKildaT2M/ so far, has reached 14% of its target – also hopes to provide job training opportunities for at least 80 disadvantaged people housed at the facility.
If successful, it will be the largest of its kind in Australia – and the only one dedicated to supporting those at risk of homelessness.
The campaign was born out of a partnership between St Kilda Community Housing and The People’s Solar. The People’s Solar also has a partnership with the Alternative Technology Association (ATA), a not-for-profit that has long been a strong supporter and advocate for community-based renewable energy.
The People’s Solar – based “somewhere in Central Victoria – was founded by of Tosh Szatow and Alex Houlston, as an offshoot of the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group.
“We set out to change perceptions of clean energy, from being a drag on economic growth to being a powerful force for social and economic prosperity,” says Szatow.
“Combining a simple platform and replicable model, with a growth strategy focused on partnerships, our project pipeline has quickly grown. But it’s the combination of environmental and social impact that excites us most.”
The campaign for the St Kilda project aims to raise $30,000 to install 15kW solar power and LED lighting. SCH says it will use Jinko Smart panels, supplied and installed by Infinity Power, and oriented to smooth power production and minimise exports to the grid.
According to the SCH website, the projected value of energy savings would be more than $5,000 a year for the first 20 years.
SCH general manager John Enticott says these savings could then be used to reduce rents and to train tenants in semi-skilled work for employment in property maintenance services.
“Over 20 years of our solar system operating, we expect to save as much as $100,000. If fully invested in training and employment, that’s enough to support up to 100 of our tenants into semi-skilled work. For every $300 donated to this project, one of our tenants could have the opportunity to get their life back on track through our program,” the website says.
“In anyone’s language, spending less than $400 to create employment for someone in social housing is a compelling investment,” adds Szatow.
“The fact that we do can it using clean energy, just makes it all the more remarkable”.