Over 70 students from the most disadvantaged schools in Victoria will get free places at Doxa’s Malmsbury Camp thanks to a solar gift from the Hepburn Solar Bulk Buy. Bill savings of around $6,500 a year from the 11.5kW solar system will make it possible for Doxa to offer their ‘positive life experience’ camp to the neediest young people in the state.
These are students who might not normally have the opportunity to attend camps due to financial hardship” said Jess Case, Manager at Doxa Malmbury. “We’re so happy that this solar system is making it possible for an extra 71 students a year to come on our 3-day residential camp and have a great time outdoors in the bush.”
With around 4,500 students going to the Doxa Malmsbury Camp each year, power costs are high. Before solar, electricity bills at the camp were around $25,000 a year with usage at around 10 times that of the average home.
We had been trying to get solar and improve our energy efficiency for ages,” said Jess. “But being a small not-for-profit, we don’t have lots of money sitting in the bank. Luckily Dominic Murphy, the Sustainability Officer at Hepburn Shire Council was a great help. He told us about the community bonus grant from the Hepburn Solar Bulk Buy and helped us through the whole process.”
State-of-the art monitoring – provided by a Fronius inverter – is helping Doxa staff and students get hands-on with how solar works. “We have the monitoring on an iPad so that students can see how much power is being generated by the solar panels and how much is being used by the camp. Most of the students who come to camp haven’t been exposed to what sustainability is all about, and why it’s so important. So this is a great opportunity to do that.”
With around 25% of the electricity needs of Doxa being met by the new solar system, Doxa is keen for more.
We’d love to get more panels within the next year or so,” said Jess. “If we did, we’d be able to install air conditioning in the accommodation areas so that students can be comfortable on hot summer nights. If we install aircon now, it’s going to increase the likelihood of the power tripping in summer. We’re at the end of the powerline and there are issues with voltage variance that need to be addressed. More solar would help us overcome that.”
Giving kids a break
“We’re thrilled that Doxa was selected as one of the three recipients of the community bonus from the first round Hepburn Solar Bulk Buy,” said organiser of the not-for-profit bulk-buy project, Jo Kaptein. “It’s great to know that this gift is going to directly benefit kids who could really do with a break.”
“This is the 13th community bonus system donated through our bulk-buy projects,” said Jo.
To learn more about the Hepburn and MASH Solar Bulk-Buys, visit mash.org.au or call 1300 466 274.