Kyneton-based social enterprise, the Social Foundry, has installed a 20kW solar system thanks to a $20,000 grant from energy retailer, Powershop, and support from the More Australian Solar Homes (MASH) Community Solar Bulk-Buy.
Solar to cut electricity bills by around $5,000 each year
The 68 panel solar system will generate an average 75 kilowatt hours of electricity a day, cutting the Social Foundry’s electricity bills by around $5,000 a year. The savings will support the further development of mentoring and work-skills programs offered to more than 70 young people annually in the areas of hospitality, carpentry and conservation land management.
MASH Solar Bulk-Buy Team helped make it happen
Paul Dettman, Co-founder of the Social Foundry said, “We approached the MASH team over a year ago asking if they could help us go solar. They suggested we seek funding through Powershop’s ‘Your Community Energy’ program and facilitated the entire process for us. We are delighted to have such a good sized system, not only because of the obvious financial benefits, but also because we want to support renewable energy.
Savings will enable Social Foundry to consolidate and expand
“Financial sustainability is key to the growth of this not-for-profit that’s got big plans for the future.” Paul Dettman said, “The savings from solar will help our Kyneton projects operate on a sound financial platform and, once we have achieved that goal, we will be in a strong position to replicate our model in other regional communities. We’d like to say a big thank you to the thousands of Powershop customers who’ve made this possible.”
Through Powershop’s Your Community Energy program, Powershop customers have the option to purchase power with a premium attached to support projects like the Social Foundry. The premiums are pooled and distributed in grants for initiatives that positively impact the environment. To date, Powershop customers have collectively raised more than half a million dollars in funding.
Massive environmental benefits
Whilst the financial benefits of the solar system are significant, so are the environmental benefits. Jo Kaptein, Manager of the MASH Community Solar Bulk-Buy said, “This system is cutting CO2 emissions by around 30 tonnes a year. Over the 25-year life of the system, that’s the equivalent of around 150 fewer cars on our roads. That’s something worth celebrating!”
MASH would like to acknowledge the ongoing support of its key partners in the region which include Macedon Ranges Shire Council, Mount Alexander Shire Council, Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group and Mount Alexander Sustainability Group. For more information about MASH visit mash.org.au or call 1300 466 274.
The Social Foundry
The Social Foundry is at 81 Mollison Street, Kyneton in the Macedon Ranges. It was founded by Paul Dettman and Simon Burnett in 2015 and seeks to mentor and impart work-skills and life-skills to young people with limited opportunities.
It has a cafe serving simple, wholesome food 6 days a week and provides a welcoming, light-filled community space based around good food and coffee.
In the last 12 months, 68 young people have learnt new skills in hospitality, carpentry and land management through the mentoring and practical training programs provided by the Social Foundry. In addition, the Social Foundry employs three people full-time and has around 30 volunteers.
Powershop Australia powers more than 120,000 homes and businesses across Victoria, New South Wales, South East Queensland, and South Australia. Powershop is Australia’s only electricity and gas retailer to be certified 100% carbon neutral by the Australian Government. Powershop’s parent company, Meridian Energy is the owner-operator of two wind farms in Australia, Mount Mercer in Victoria and Mount Millar in South Australia, and three hydro power stations in New South Wales.