Can volunteer community groups make a difference? According to Kathryn Maxwell from Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) they most definitely can. SHASA is a volunteer group committed to supporting the transition to renewable energy and, working with their partners Micro Energy Systems Australia (MESA) of Bodalla, they have just completed their eleventh solar installation on community buildings in the Eurobodalla and their third in Narooma.
The first system was installed for Monty’s and this was followed by an installation on the new Narooma Men’s Shed. SHASA has applied for grants on behalf of the organisations to fund the installations. Some of the grants have only partially covered the cost and, where the organisation has had limited funds, the shortfall has been covered by SHASA and MESA.
The latest project which was turned on last week is on the roof of the Marine Rescue building on the headland above the Narooma bar. It has been funded through the Federal Government’s Community Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants 2020.
Above: Unit Commander John Lundy, Stephen Cornthwaite, Tyson Woods and Darrin Cook
Above: Stephen Cornthwaite, MESA and Unit Commander John Lundy from Marine Rescue Below: the installation on the new Narooma Men’s Shed
This installation was first proposed back in 2020 but hit a problem. The roof of the building was corrugated asbestos sheet and had to be replaced for safety reasons before the solar panels could be installed. The 6.3kW PV Solar array is coupled with a 6.3kWh battery which augments and expands the existing Emergency Power facility which looks after wireless communications. The new Hybrid system backs up the small UPS packs which support phone and internet communications as well as maintaining lighting in the building during a mains power blackout.
If you belong to a community group that you think would benefit from a solar installation, SHASA would love to hear from you. Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org