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Climate charity donors fund $1 MILLION in interest-free climate action loans

2 min read
climate change

Grassroots charity, Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia (CORENA), has achieved the milestone of providing $1,049,234 in interest-free climate action loans to the community and non-profit sector.

The national charity supports non-profits and community-focused organisations to reduce their emissions by providing interest-free loans and technical advice to install practical carbon emission reduction projects.

The one million dollars in climate impact has been funded entirely by everyday Australians who donate to CORENA’s unique revolving climate fund. This revolving fund model uses pooled community donations, plus ongoing loan repayments from previously funded projects, to continually finance new climate projects.

To date, the revolving fund has allowed a total of $568,968 in donations to be transformed into $1,049,234 in total loans – and each $100 donated to CORENA’s first project in 2013, has now gone on to achieve a total of $424 in renewable energy impact.

This one million dollar milestone was reached after providing a $55,000 interest-free part loan for CORENA’s 48th project – a combined total of 92.8 kW of rooftop solar installations on 14 independent living units for elderly and/or disabled residents at Lockington Community Care in Victoria.

This project will avoid an estimated 133,070kWh of grid electricity/year. This is equivalent to 24 average homes using zero-emission renewable energy instead of grid electricity.

“CORENA began as a way to empower everyday individuals to take climate action by funding practical climate action, such as solar installations which immediately reduce emissions,” said CORENA’s Chair, Briony O’Shea.

“It is an incredible achievement that our organisation, which was run entirely by volunteers until only this year, has implemented over one million dollars in climate action projects.”

To date, CORENA’s 48 funded projects have avoided 3,627 MWh of grid electricity which equates to 278.5 average households permanently switched to using 100% renewable energy instead of grid electricity.

An excited Sarah McCabe, CORENA’s Head of Operations, has called for community organisations to apply for a CORENA loan “Thanks to donations from the community, in 2023 and beyond we will support even more projects with community organisations. We encourage any interested community organisations, non-profit, or social enterprise to apply for funding to reduce emissions and long-term energy bills.”

Loan repayments from projects are calculated so that they are never more than the organisation’s original energy bills – meaning the community organisation is never out of pocket. In addition to immediate emissions reductions, once the loan has been repaid, the loan recipient will reap the long-term benefits from reduced energy bills, allowing them to spend these savings on their organisation’s core functions and mission.

CORENA offers interest-free loans to not-for-profits, community organisations, and social-enterprises.

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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