The Clean Energy Association of Newcastle and Surrounds is a not for profit community group which aims to drive the uptake of renewable energy technologies in Newcastle and surrounding areas. The CLEANaS vision is to:
- Establish community funded renewable energy solutions for direct electricity supply to local organisations and businesses,
- Facilitate the uptake of domestic renewable energy through education, bulk buy schemes and linking reputable suppliers with CLEANaS members, and
- working with industry, all levels of government, policy makers and community groups to identify ways to build capacity and develop opportunities in the local renewable energy sector.
CLEANaS have developed a Lighthouse Toolkit which contains a lot of information and tools to help other community groups looking to provide community renewable energy solutions. The tools include advice on business and financial structures, legal frameworks, council application guides and energy assessment tools. More work is needed on financial structures that will allow community investors to make a profit, and CLEANaS are looking into this now.
While CLEANaS come up with a financial model that allows multiple community investors to have a Return On Investment (ROI), they are working on a project to put solar panels on the Hunter Wetlands Centre Spoonbill Cafe.
For this project CLEANaS and the Hunter Wetlands Centre are relying on donations. They are hoping to raise $20,000 to install a 12kW system on the cafe, which will supply around 20% of their daily needs, saving them $4,000 a year. Donations of any amount are accepted, but a donation of $500 will buy a panel for the centre, and get your name on a plaque mounted at the centre. You will also receive a tee-shirt, and all donations are tax deductable.
At the time of writing this, the project has raised nearly half of the funds it needs.
Suno are proud to be supporting CLEANaS and look forward to working with the group on future projects and development initiatives.