Grant Opportunity

The Valley Centre for Environmental Education and Research Inc.
26 Chestnut Drive
Glossodia, NSW, 2756
AUSTRALIA

Indigenous Solar Rolling Fund -

The Valley Centre; sustainable community building, youth education and Indigenous empowerment, which has been running for the last 20 years, looking at what it takes to enable community to be resilient, sustainable and healthy – covering mental health, juvenile justice ecology programs, new technologies and with a focus on our young people as they are innovators for change. We are currently working with Aboriginal communities, setting up solar farms, biodiesel, aquaponics and other micro-businesses so that remote areas can educate their young people, rebuild and enable self determination, empowerment and a tangible future. It’s a critical time to be talking about system transformation, how communities fit into that picture and climate change adaptation, moving away from reliance on centralised, fossil fuel systems, into local renewable sources of energy, food, power, water etc. We are also in the process of building an EcoWonderland Education Centre on the Hawkesbury River, which will be a showcase for sustainable tech, as well as research and youth inspiration programs for our future.

  • Total Requested Amount
    $25,000
  • Total Raised From Donors
    $0
  • Remaining Goal
    $25,000

Project Details

Postcode where activity will take place: 2839

Start Date: 07/01/2019

End Date: 10/05/2019

Target Population:

  • Indigenous Australians > Indigenous Australians
  • Health > People with diseases and illnesses

Field of Interest:

  • Community and economic development > Community development
  • Environment > Climate change

Project Summary:

The Project

We are developing the Indigenous Solar Rolling Fund which will offer households in Aboriginal communities in regional and remote Australia a no-interest loan for solar energy, alleviating immense energy poverty and significant levels of everyday financial stress in remote Aboriginal communities. We are starting with a community in Brewarrina NSW where we have identified 56 houses that require support.

The Rolling Fund will enable Indigenous communities to install solar (and if funding becomes available batteries) into their communities to manage their own energy, drastically improve energy affordability, increase energy literacy and create opportunities for local employment.

All the funding – the donations given, grants received and in-kind support - will be utilised again and again, as each household pays back the capital for their installation over a ten year period. This capital will then be utilised to install solar on new households in other communities of need. Every dollar will be multiplied significantly, hence the term "Rolling" fund.

Our on the ground experience in community consistently demonstrates the huge need for financial relief and local economic development across remote Aboriginal Australia and this program will see immediate savings from energy bill reduction and long term impacts in terms of independence, self-sufficiency and employment for communities that have extremely limited access to opportunities.

Indigenous Solar Rolling Fund Community Pilot

The project is located in Brewarrina, a small remote town 4 hours north of Dubbo and 1 hour west of Lightning Ridge on the Queensland border.

The Brewarrina community has asked us to work with them to install renewable energy to alleviate their energy bill stress and enable local ownership and management of the project. They will be involved at every stage of the project, driving forward the community engagement and shaping the way it rolls out for them.

Each household will receive the solar (and in future batteries), paying back a nominal amount each week into the Rolling Fund which will then utilise that capital for new communities. The community will own their own systems, giving greater autonomy and independence for their future.

We will utilise this grant to implement the community scale pilot, test the Rolling Fund structure and processes, measure our success and thus prove the concept to funders who are willing to scale this across the country with large grants.

Project Outcomes:

Energy poverty is a critical issue right across Australia. However it is disproportionately impacting families in remote Aboriginal Australia. As energy prices and the extreme weather impacts from climate change continue to escalate, communities are more and more vulnerable. In regional NSW, communities are facing consecutive days of temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius, energy supply challenges for communities at the edge of the grid that are further exacerbated by extreme weather, an extremely high cost of electricity and severe drought as well as a lack of employment opportunities are all compounding issues that are severely impacting the health and wellbeing of young people and families in Indigenous Australia.

Some of the families that we work with are facing electricity bills as high as $10,000 per quarter, making life extremely stressful and in some cases, unlivable. Chronic health conditions continue to rise, further increasing the vulnerability of these communities in poor quality housing. The need for a solution is urgent. By creating the Indigenous Solar Rolling Fund we are aiming to address all of these issues – reducing energy poverty, improving climate resilience, increasing health and well-being, opportunities for community autonomy, increasing affordability and building opportunities for the local economy and employment.

Budget Details

Total Budget: $340,000

Income:

Income item Price ($)
State Government 100,000
Crowdfunding 15,000
Philanthropists 25,000

Expenses

Expense item Price ($)
Solar and batteries for 20 houses 320,000
Travel to site $6000
Project Management 24,000

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