ICLSG partner, Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia (CORENA), has made headlines at the Australian Clean Energy Regulator by providing financial assistance to Merriwa Industries, a community not-for-profit organisation, for solar panel installation.

Merriwa Industries planned to install a 99.5 kW rooftop solar photovoltaic system and after finalising the design, connection application, and procurement of the system, the community organisation contacted CORENA. CORENA aids not-for-profits financially by covering the cost of purchasing and installing the photovoltaic system through a zero-interest loan, alongside technical expertise regarding system maintenance and the expected savings on the community organisations electricity bills.

Sarah McCabe, Head of Operations at CORENA, who is always on the lookout for new projects to finance, said “we encourage any community members or groups to get in contact with us if they know of a not-for-profit that would be interested in installing solar panels, reducing their energy use or purchasing electric vehicles.”

At ICLSG, we are finding that there are a variety of different approaches to community-led projects and how ‘local’ plays a role in the future electricity grids. Increasing community renewable energy projects enables them to meet their needs now and in the future.

CORENA is able to finance the development of smart renewable energy assets for community organisations who otherwise could not afford the system cost or who are unaware of opportunities available to them through a revolving fund. The revolving fund was initially established through supporter’s donations, to begin financing practical renewable energy projects at not-for-profit community organisations.

Although the loans are zero-interest, a quarterly repayment plan amount based on these savings is used to pay the loan back, these repayments re-enter the funding pool to be used on other projects and support CORENA’s operations; creating a perpetual revolving fund.

At ICLSG, our researchers are keen to learn more about the different scheme’s countries offer to incentivise uptake of smart renewable energy assets and accelerate decarbonisation. Merriwa Industries also took advantage of the Clean Energy Regulator’s Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), which encourages individuals or small businesses to install eligible small-scale renewable energy systems.

In the case of Merriwa Industries, their rooftop solar photovoltaic installation met the criteria of having a capacity of no more than 100 kW in size and a total annual electricity output less than 250 MWh, qualifying for the SRES.

To learn more about CORENA (https://corenafund.org.au/).

Find out more  (https://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/Infohub/case-studies/Pages/ret-case-studies/Help-available-for-not-for-profits-to-switch-to-renewable-energy.aspx)

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