Renewable energy network opens new criteria for projects
Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia (CORENA) has expanded the range of eligible projects for which they offer interest-free loans to not-for-profit organisations wanting to reducing their carbon emissions.
In addition to rooftop solar installations and energy efficiency measures, CORENA will now also replace gas appliances with efficient renewable energy alternatives, and replace fossil fuel vehicles with electric vehicles.
Founded in 2013 and run almost entirely by volunteers, CORENA operates Australia’s longest running donor-driven revolving fund for practical climate action. Anyone can donate via the CORENA website to collectively fund the loans for these projects.
These donations are then returned to the revolving fund in the form of loan repayments, and these repayments are then used again, in conjunction with new donations, to fund future emissions reduction projects.
To date, $808,615 in interest-free loans from CORENA has financed a total of 42 climate projects, with fundraising underway to provide an interest-free loan to a 43rd project. Collectively these projects have avoided an estimated 1,822.5 MWh of grid electricity.
The savings resulting from projects will usually repay the loan in four to six years, and from that point onward the organisation begins reaping the financial benefits. However, the benefits reaped from carbon reduction is immediate.
CORENA’s Chair, Briony O’Shea, was excited to announce the new project criteria.
“Previously, CORENA focused on solar installations and energy efficiency measures. However, recognising the climate impact of emissions from fossil gas and the transport sector, we now also offer interest-free loans to replace gas appliances with efficient electric alternatives as well as replacing fossil fueled vehicles with electric vehicles,” she said.
Over the years, CORENA has funded some 42 projects. One of them is the Gawler Community House in South Australia, where a 10Kw rooftop solar panel and energy efficient LEDs were installed in 2014. The project cost of $17,650 was loaned and repaid in three years and saved a total of 102 MWh of grid electricity.
The repaid loan has since been used for other carbon reduction projects costing a total of $64,755.
Meanwhile, in Victoria, a local non-profit community-owned hospital in Yackandandah received a loan of $20,000 in 2016 to replace their lighting with energy efficient LEDs. The loan was repaid in four years and has since been used in other carbon reduction projects costing a total of $49, 697. The project has since allowed the hospital to save 74 MWh of grid electricity.
Just last year, the Tarremah Steiner School in Tasmania installed a 100 KW solar panel through a $70,000 loan. To date, the project has allowed the school to save on 64.6 MWh of grid electricity. The loan is expected to be repaid in just over four years.