Windarring’s Day Service in Castlemaine – which provides support and opportunities for people with disabilities – is the latest community group to benefit from free solar from the MASH community solar bulk-buy. The 6.48kW solar PV system is expected to save Windarring up to $2,500 off their first year’s electricity bill and around $67,000 over 20 years.
A great example of community collaboration
Fundraising for the 24 panel system was an example of true community collaboration”, said Jo Kaptein, manager of the MASH community solar bulk-buy. The largest contribution came from the MASH community bonus fund with the remainder from The Hub Foundation, Castlemaine State Festival and Windarring.
Solar to help Windarring be more financially self-sustaining
Solar will help make our operations more financially self-sustaining,” said Mark Castle, Employment Pathways Manager at Windarring.
Over 40 people access our services each week, at our Barker Street Centre, in addition to this we accommodate an after school program each evening. Our new ‘Urban Mushroom’ social enterprise is also located at this site which has increased our overall power consumption,” said Mark.
Solar will supply around 43 percent of electricity needs
The service’s electricity bills are highest in the peak of winter as the heating and cooling is all-electric. It is anticipated that 43 percent of the site’s electricity needs will be met by solar.
We are looking to have a smart meter installed, so can tell how much power is being used in the mushroom farm compared to the rest of the building, said Mark.
Bill savings will help mushroom farm grow – and create more jobs
Bill savings from the solar will be used to offset the cost of the mushroom farm and allow it to grow.
In twelve month’s time, our plan is to increase production tenfold which will allow us to provide more paid employment for people with disabilities in our region. Having solar is really going to help us power up!, said Mark.
Windarring – a stand-out application
“We received thirteen applications from community groups and schools for this grant,” said Jo. “Windarring’s application stood out because the benefit to the Service from the bill savings was so strong and would help secure the long-term financial viability of their mushroom growing initiative.”
To learn more about MASH, visit mash.org.au or call 1300 466 274.