Community energy solar financing for NFP organisations

Infographic describing the models of how community energy groups can finance rooftop solar model for not for profit organisations.

There are many community members in the Inner West who are keen to invest in solar but can’t. They may live in an apartment, rent or not have a suitable roof on their home.

Community energy groups are not-for-profit associations,  member co-operatives or investment trusts that enable members to crowd-fund rooftop solar installations on host businesses. Groups either receive a return on their investment when the host business leases the solar system or purchases the solar output or via a tax deduction.

Some community energy groups offer a solar donation model to not for profit organisations and social enterprises, with sustainability outcomes and tax deductibility being key drivers for the community energy group.

The community energy group retains ownership of the installed solar system and is responsible for its operation and maintenance for the length of the lease. At the end of the lease, ownership is transferred with the new owner able to continue to benefit from the solar generation.

Why consider third party community energy funding for your solar project?

  • Gain the benefits of solar savings even if you don’t have the capital to buy a solar system outright
  • Corporate branding – deliver on your business’s sustainability objectives to lower your carbon footprint
  • Community development – fund your community by paying back to them what would otherwise be paid to outside funders and watch the benefits circulate back through the community
  • Customer engagement – appeal to your environmentally conscious customer base. Over 75% of Australians say they support renewable energy
  • After the set lease or loan period, you will own the system outright and enjoy the full benefits

Community energy funded solar projects in the Inner West

Host business Location Solar system size Community energy group funding Picture

Young Henry’s Microbrewery

Newtown

33kW

Pingala Community Energy

Young Henry\

Acre Eatery / Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL Club

Camperdown

36kW

Inner West Community Energy

Acre Eatery solar

Sydney Buddhist Centre

Newtown

7.2kW

Pingala Community Energy

Sydney Buddhist Centre Pingala Community solar

 

Community energy groups operating in the Inner West

Inner West Community EnergyInner West Community Energy

IWCE has been operating for 3 years and has a part-time dedicated solar project manager. The group facilitates residential solar installations and has completed 112 across the Greater Sydney area, working with pre-vetted local solar installers.

The 2020 36kW Acre eatery installation is their first commercial project and they are keen to do more. No minimum project size.

IWCE offers two models:

  1. You pay for, own, and operate the system
  2. IWCE owns the system (leased roof space), and you purchase your power through a PPA (power purchase agreement) with IWCE

For Community Group buildings and Not For Profits, we are happy to provide our expertise with the grant application process, design and installation and fundraising as well as the above options.

PingalaPingala Community Energy

Pingala is a citizen-led energy movement, working for a fast and fair transition to clean energy. They help businesses transition to renewable energy as well as communities that are locked out of solar including indigenous communities and women’s refuges.

Pingala can offer the choice of a donation or a member co-operative model for investing in community organised solar projects. Pingala is working alongside Sustainable Ultimo on a solar roadmap for Ultimo, which will create a blueprint for Sydney’s highly urbanised communities, as well as implementing Solar Gardens within regional Australia that could be invested in by inner city residents. 

CORENA

CORENA is a not for profit volunteer-run organisation with tax deductible status. Since 2013 CORENA has funded over 40 community solar and energy efficiency projects across Australia from a combination of revolving fund capitalCommunity energy revolving fund group logo
and new donations.

Community organisations are invited to apply for zero-interest loans and technical advice from CORENA to pay for solar panels, energy efficiency, switching from gas to electricity and electric vehicles. The savings on energy bills cover the organisation’s loan repayments into CORENA’s revolving fund, so the organisation is never out of pocket.

Funded solar projects to date include community halls, community run child care centres, aged care homes, family day care centres, bowling clubs and more! Project sizes range from  5-99kW with the recipient organisation laving ownership from day 1.  Loans range in value from $4,000 to $92,000.

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Disclaimer

The information set out has been prepared by Inner West Council, with assistance from the community energy groups listed above, in good faith to provide interested parties with general information on community energy groups and their services. Council provides no warranty or makes any representations as to the accuracy of this information and any interested party must conduct its own enquiries.

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Page last updated: 03 Jun 2022