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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.

Australia's First Solar Garden -
The NCCH Solar Garden

Solar Garden Receive a Discount
The North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) Solar Garden is an initiative of Enova Community Energy in partnership with NCCH, COREM and Splendour in the Grass. 
 
This ‘Solar Garden’ is a 35kW solar array situated on the roof of NCCH’s administrative building in Lismore. As an Enova customer, NCCH purchases the electricity produced by the array for use onsite. Funds generated from the sale of that solar energy are divided between 23 ‘Solar Gardeners’ - 19 NCCH tenants and four community groups: The Caldera Environment Center, Mullumbimby CWA, Marine Rescue Brunswick, and Federal Tennis Club.
 
The solar gardeners receive a monthly or quarterly credit on their Enova electricity bill. As with home solar arrays, the discount amount depends on the weather and NCCH’s electricity use. To incentivise energy use while the sun is shining, NCCH receives a discount on the electricity they use from the array.
 
Over its 20-year life span, the project will save approximately $160,000 for the solar gardeners and NCCH. 
 
While other solar garden models require solar gardeners to invest, the NCCH Solar Garden is fully funded thanks to Enova’s Renewable Development Initiative, Splendour in the Grass’ Green Offset’ program of, COREM and NCCH.
 

Introducing Byron Bay's Microgrid Pilot Project

microgrid diagram solar powered community projects

The Byron Bay Arts & Industry Estate Microgrid is an exciting pilot project led by Byron Bay based community-owned energy company, Enova Energy in collaboration with Essential Energy.
The ultimate aim is to reduce costs through sharing renewable energy that is locally generated, stored and distributed.

This ground-breaking project aims to:

  • Reduce carbon emissions through increased use of renewables
  • Lower your power bills
  • Keep money local.  Instead of spending money outside the region, dollars stay circulating in your community, providing jobs, and helping fund local initiatives.

Great concept?  We think so, which is why we want to help you, as Arts & Industry Estate building owners and tenants, achieve this goal.

 

How It Works

It’s simple: You or your neighbours generate energy from renewable sources such as rooftop solar panels to power your own buildings and supply excess electricity to others in the industrial estate who may not have the roof space or capital to buy panels. When supply exceeds demand, excess will be stored in a centralised super battery for reuse within the estate or sold externally.
The industrial estate is part of an existing distribution network operated by Essential Energy and will remain connected to the main electricity grid to ensure continuity of energy supply.

The Pilot

20 – 30 participants are required for a pilot study – a mix of those with solar and those without in specific areas of the estate.  The pilot will take place over approximately two years.  When finalised in October 2020 it is hoped that it leads to the formation of a wider, self-sufficient microgrid for the entire estate – so everyone is encouraged to register their interest now.
Participants in the pilot will have individual metering devices installed to measure power inputs and outputs – this data will help work out a new pricing structure based on sharing locally generated power.

Pricing

One of the aims of the pilot is to work out just how much cheaper it is to use local power sources rather than bringing electricity from afar. Eventually, the microgrid is likely to enjoy its own unique tariff structure, where new prices should be more attractive than current energy pricing.

Next Steps

Switch to Enova: Become an Enova Energy customer and help our quest to champion renewable energy and give back to your community. Small Business Offer – when you join Enova Energy as your electricity provider – your company may be eligible for a professional energy efficiency assessment carried out by our partner Ensol Systems.
Register your interest by going to enovaenergy.com.au/microgrid. We need registrations by 30 September 2018. For those not selected to take part in the pilot, we will hold your registration as an expression of interest for the future.

Project Partners

The project is a partnership between community-owned energy retailer Enova Energy, electricity network distributor Essential Energy, energy marketplace platform provider LO3 Energy, digital energy technology company Wattwatchers, and the University of NSW. It is also supported by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

The Way Of The Future

The Byron Arts & Industry Estate Microgrid is 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

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.

Solar for community organisations

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.