Energy Forever and St Agnes Early Learning join together to create first community funded and owned solar power system

CLEAN ENERGY: Many turned out to the opening of the community owned solar panel opening at St Agnes child care centre. Photo: Laura Telford

CLEAN ENERGY: Many turned out to the opening of the community owned solar panel opening at St Agnes child care centre. Photo: Laura Telford

Looking forward to a clean energy future, St Agnes Early Education Centre and local group Energy Forever, along with the community have banded together to create an 100 percent community funded and owned solar panel system in Port Macquarie.

At the official opening on October 11, Chairperson of the Energy Forever committee, Steve Lockhart, said that the team had been working towards a community-funded project for a long time.

“The Energy Forever team has been working tirelessly towards this goal for some time and it is satisfying to be here today,” Mr Lockhart said.

The project has been in the works for the last two and a half years, and Mr Lockhart said that it was all about the future.

“Collectively, we wanted to achieve something tangible in our local community and had grown tired of continuing ‘talk fests’ about energy problems and possible solutions, without enough real action on the issues we all face in the 21st century.

“Our continuing pledge is to develop a minimum of 70-100 kilowatt hours of community-owned solar power generation, that in turn provides a revenue stream to fund further sustainability projects in our area,” he said.

The solar power generates funds for local sustainability driven projects via a community grants program with the 72 panels at St Agnes Early Education Centre having so far produced over 6016 kilowatt hours of power. 

Marcus Ludriks, who along with his daughter and granddaughter, cut the ceremonial ribbon at the opening said that he bought three panels at the systems launch last year because of his family.

“I did it because it is all about the next generation, and how they will live,” Mr Ludriks said.

OFFICIALLY OPEN: Marcus Ludriks and his daughter Anika Pead and granddaughter Zoe cut the ribbon at the opening. Photo: Laura Telford

OFFICIALLY OPEN: Marcus Ludriks and his daughter Anika Pead and granddaughter Zoe cut the ribbon at the opening. Photo: Laura Telford

Energy Forever works by raising funds to purchase community-owned solar energy systems to place on various host sites around the Port Macquarie-Hastings area.

Coordinator of the Energy Forever Committee, Shannon Larkin said the committee hopes that within the next 12 months they will be calling for local community groups to apply for funding to implement a range of sustainability driven projects across the Hastings region.  

“The whole committee is excited to have its first system installed and be generating clean energy and we hope to replicate the project at another site soon,” Ms Larkin said. 

“The Energy Forever team are not stopping with one system but are inspired by the amazing support from the community and are determined to install many systems across the Hastings,” she said.

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