Sunulator in Victorian community solar first

The Alternative Technology Association’s (ATA) Sunulator solar feasibility calculator has played an important part in a groundbreaking community solar project.

The Geelong Sustainability Group has been awarded $140,000 by the Victorian Government to establish the state’s first community solar investment model and enable the group to co-ordinate community renewable energy projects in Geelong, starting with a 149-kilowatt solar installation at the Multicultural Aged Care building.

The model will see community-funded solar systems being installed on the roofs of Geelong businesses and not-for profit organisations. Businesses have full use of the solar system with no upfront costs with a solar lease fee going back to community investors until the system is paid off.

The ATA ran a special training session on Sunulator for Geelong Sustainability in December 2016. The group then used Sunulator to conduct solar feasibility assessments on potential host sites for the project, modelling in detail various scenarios for 11 sites where the solar systems ranged from 15kW to 99kW.

“Sunulator has been absolutely invaluable to our project and we are continuing to use it to evaluate the solar potential at other prospective community solar sites,” said Dan Cowdell, Geelong Sustainability’s project co-ordinator.

“We are aiming to have the project open for community investment in early 2018.”

Donna Luckman, the ATA’s chief executive, congratulated the group and praised the Victorian Government for its funding of community energy through the New Energy Jobs Fund.

“It’s wonderful to see innovative community renewables projects like this one on the way to achievement, and we’re very proud of Sunulator’s contribution,” Ms Luckman said.

“The ATA, through Sunulator and our involvement in the Coalition for Community Energy, will continue to support and take a lead role in resourcing community energy in Australia.

“We are thankful to the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation for supporting the development of Sunulator.”