An innovative project spearheading a new approach to renewable energy is poised to deliver environmental, economic and social benefits to Lake Macquarie.
Charlestown community service provider Allambi Care will next week launch its community-funded 60kW solar array, financed by the local community through the member-owned Pingala Co-operative.
The initiative launched just two months ago and is the first partnership between Lake Macquarie City Council and a local organisation to adopt the innovative approach to renewable energy.
Community members invested $250-$1000 in the project, with the money going towards supplying and installing the solar technology at Allambi Care’s Charlestown headquarters, which supports 2000 people across the region.
The solar panels help reduce energy costs for the not-for-profit, while also reducing its environmental footprint.
Investors receive an annual return on their investment, estimated at 5-8 per cent, based on income received from Allambi Care and distributed via Pingala.
Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said Council came on board to advocate for the concept and promote renewable energy options in the City.
“We want more renewable energy in Lake Macquarie. We’ve got greenhouse gas emission targets and we need to get more solar panels on commercial and residential properties,” Cr Fraser said.
“This initiative drives towards that goal, and it does so in a way that not only benefits the environment, but also the local economy.”
Pingala co-founder April Crawford-Smith said she was excited to have so many locals sign up to the Allambi project.
“For us, it’s about enabling the community to get behind renewable energy, where they wouldn’t otherwise be able to,” she said.
“Community empowerment is key.”
Allambi Care CEO Simon Walsh thanked Council, Pingala and the local community for the opportunity to develop such an innovative program.
“We have created a strong partnership that demonstrates how our region’s local businesses and residents can partner with local government to contribute to smart and sustainable solutions,” Mr Walsh said.
A community celebration is planned for Sunday 27 October to mark the project’s completion, with food, drink and entertainment provided.
The 11am-12.30pm event will take place at Allambi Care, 28 Fraser Parade, Charlestown.