The Hunter’s first steps towards an innovative approach to energy

The Hunter’s first steps towards an innovative approach to energy

A partnership created by local government, a not for profit leading provider of community care and a solar cooperative will see an innovative approach to energy in the Hunter.

Allambi Care in association with Lake Macquarie City Council and a member-owned solar technology company called Pingala, will work with around two hundred other stakeholders from the local community, to invest in solar panels and infrastructure that will be used to power its Charlestown offices.

The project will enable Allambi to install a solar system on the roof of its Charlestown offices that will be funded by the community.

Allambi will pay for the electricity it produces and the community investors will receive a dividend for their investment. Allambi Care has operated in Lake Macquarie since 1981 and today operates from Fraser Parade in Charlestown.

Allambi Care CEO, Simon Walsh, said that the organisation was working in partnership with Lake Macquarie City Council to roll out the innovative crowd funded program.

“As an organisation working with community services, we are always looking for opportunities to reduce our costs, but in 2019 that’s also about treading a little more carefully within our environment,” Simon said.

“This innovative program fits well into our commitment to being a modern and sustainable organisation and reducing its energy footprint.

“We are thrilled to be working with the team at Lake Macquarie City Council and Pingala to champion the City’s first community-funded renewable energy project,” he said.

Pingala is a member-owned cooperative that empowers communities to develop, own and operate their own energy systems and share in the economic benefits of those systems.

The solar project invites people and organisations that are connected to Allambi Care or are part of the local community to invest in the in the supply and installation of solar panels for the Charlestown site.

There is opportunity for up to two hundred and fifty investors to contribute a minimum of $250 up to $1,000. The 60kW panels will power buildings that include clinical services, the Allambi school facilities, community hall and offices.

Community members receive an annual dividend of between five and eight per cent on their initial investment by becoming members of the Pingala Co-operative.

Lake Macquarie City Council Community Partnerships Manager, Andrew Bryant, said that Council was excited that Allambi Care agreed to take part in this initiative.

“It is a great example of how businesses and residents can partner with Lake Macquarie City Council to contribute to local sustainability initiatives,” Andrew said.

“We hope more Lake Mac businesses and local investors participate in the initiative so more of our city is powered by renewable energy and profits are returned to the community,” he said.

IMAGE | April Crawford-Smith (Pingala Co-Founder & Convenor), Stephen Graham (Allambi Care Director) & Cr Kay Fraser (Mayor of Lake Macquarie City Council). (left-right)

Allambi Care

Based in Charlestown, Allambi Care is a not-for-profit organisation and exists to provide support and services to families and children who are at risk by providing access to programs. These include intensive therapeutic residential care, foster care, homelessness services, disability and NDIS services, and outreach programs. Allambi Care services the Hunter Region of NSW and includes a team of more than 700 staff.   

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