When we all make informed choices, it changes everything.
Enova Community Energy was founded in 2016 and is now a well-established social enterprise. Servicing more than 9,000 electricity customers, both solar and non-solar Enova is now available throughout New South Wales and South East Queensland. As Enova grows so does its capacity to deliver positive community impact. We’ve put together this overview of the ways Enova is already doing good.
We do business locally
Established in Byron Bay in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Enova is well-known and loved locally. We’ve heard local Enova advocates say that “this place wouldn’t be the same without Enova”.
As well as creating local jobs for more than 30 people, Enova does business locally. When needed and wherever possible, we outsource to local suppliers and other local businesses to help support the local economy.
Community Energy Projects – via Enova Community, our not-for-profit arm
Enova’s profit for purpose model, which is community-owned and does not invest in fossil fuels, ensures that 50% of our profits are reinvested into community projects.
Our mission to make sure that nobody is left behind in the renewable energy transition means that we’re mandated to innovate projects like solar gardens, micro grids and community batteries. These projects ensure the benefits of renewable energy are locally generated and distributed fairly to those who do not have the ability to invest in their own solar panels.
As a social enterprise we’re a profit-for-purpose organisation, and our purpose is to deliver community impact. By installing community solar in collaboration with partners, we’re building the capacity of community organisations to build energy independence, as well as reducing community carbon emissions.
Social Impact Solar Garden with North Coast Community Housing, Lismore
In late 2019, Enova launched its first social impact solar garden in partnership with North Coast Community Housing. The solar garden is a 35-kilowatt solar system (equivalent to 100 solar panels) installed on the roof of NCCH’s head office. The benefits of the solar generated flow to social housing tenants of NCCH and four local community organisations, in the form of credits on their electricity bills. NCCH also benefits as an organisation through a discount applied to their energy bill in return for hosting the solar garden.
Solar for community halls with COREM
Enova Community has also partnered with COREM (Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby) to support other local community organisations in placing solar panels on their rooftops via a revolving solar fund. We’ve had an ongoing arrangement to contribute $1,000 toward projects supported by COREM’s revolving solar fund. The community halls that have benefits are Jasper Corner, the Federal Community Hall, Coorabell Hall and the Mullumbimby Commons.
Solar for 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 64 kWh 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.
Community solar enables tenants and community organisations to redirect the funds they would otherwise have spent on electricity bills back into their organisation’s core purpose or their household budgets. It’s one of the ways Enova ensures energy money circulates locally rather than being paid to large often multinational corporations – i.e. flowing out of the community one way.
Pilot projects - driving innovation
We’re also innovating the back-end and customer-facing structures of our first microgrid and shared community battery. These pilot projects will inform how we move forward and continue to generate real change with community energy that distributes (or shares) locally generated and stored renewable energy.
These projects take energy generation and storage off the one-way grid line and circulate it locally. While not only being good for our environment they also build community energy resilience and local community economic capacity.
More details below:
- First microgrid pilot study, Byron Bay
- First Shared Community Battery pilot project, Regional NSW