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Our Energy Sources | Enova Community Energy

How Enova is making an impact in the community

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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

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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

ncch-solar-roof-copyIn 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
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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:

In partnership with Essential Energy, Enova’s first microgrid is currently being trialled in the Arts and Industrial Estate of Byron Bay. More than 20 local businesses have signed up and have had energy monitors installed to assess energy use and needs of the participating businesses.
New South Wales state and federal funding has enabled Enova mission to embark upon an initiative to commission and install a 2MWh battery in a regional NSW location. 
 
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The shared community battery is a project partnership with Enosi Australia and the University of Newcastle.
 
Enova will buy and manage the battery, Enosi will provide the platform that will allow Enova’s solar and non-solar customers involved in the pilot to share and purchase energy with the battery, and the University of Newcastle will be collecting and analysing data from the project.
 
This project will allow the participants’ with solar to circulate their own generated and stored energy amongst other participating house holds with the battery also providing another source of localised energy.
 

Partnerships

Since June 2019 Enova introduced an innovative way of giving back. We invited new customers to either receive a credit on their bill, or to have us donate their credit to one of our community partners.rsz_1black_dog_donation
 
This really struck a chord with new customers coming on board, and to date we’ve given more than $80,000to non-profit organisations, including Liberation Larder, the Black Dog Institute, bushfire relief efforts at The Red Cross and BlazeAid and HalfCut.
 
We’re so excited to be able to spread the love and this is a true testament to our customers. We know they are people who want to do good and we’re helping them to do that. Our reach extends throughout NSW, so we’re able to make a little bit go a long way. You can read more about these efforts here.
 
Through other partnerships with 1 Million Women, Geni.Energy, Haystacks Solar Garden and EcoNetwork we’re helping spread the word about sustainable lifestyles and supporting positive climate action.
 

Solar Donations - innovation in tough times helps to pay it forward

In 2020, and in response to rising financial hardship during the COVID-19 restrictions, Enova was able to recirculate thousands of dollars’ worth of solar credits to households in need.
 
We invited our solar customers to donate their excess solar, which appears as credits on their electricity bill, to Enova customers experiencing financial hardship.
 
We received a wonderful response and were able to generate a significant community impact, by recirculating $5,000 in solar credits to people in need after 34 solar credit donations came to fruition!
 
You can find out more about this initiative on our Solar Donations page.
 

We’re all in this together

“Imagine the money we spend on every day goods continuing to recirculate in the local economy building community wealth along the way.” Charity
“Imagine local businesses multiplying and providing ample, meaningful employment opportunities, instead of our hard-earned cash being immediately siphoned off to some distant corporate headquarters.”
 
From World Localisation Day, hosted by Local Futures... imagine!
 
There’s no other electricity company like Enova in Australia. We were set up to support local communities to generate, store and share their own energy and to have a community impact by strengthening local economies and the environment.
 
Our stated vision is to be the leading social enterprise is creating self-sustaining communities.
 
So really, we can only achieve what we set out to do in the context of the great Australian energy transition to renewable energy, with the help of you, our customers, shareholders and our supporters. As we grow in customer numbers, so can our community impact. The alternative can be to select an energy company that ticks one or two boxes but that still invests in fossil fuels.
 
Making an informed choice in which customers know where their money goes, changes everything. 
 
Read more about how Enova is making a positive impact on climate and communities by clicking here.
 
 

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