Enova’s Community Solar Garden Signups

We wrote last year about the Byron Bay based community solar company Enova who became a generator and a reseller of renewable energy. They’re now launching a community solar garden which is an amazing idea for people who aren’t able to reduce their electricity bill by installing solar power. Let’s learn more about the Enova and their plan to revolutionise solar for people in apartments, renters, and many more…

Enova and the Community Solar Garden

Enova Solar Garden
Enova Solar Garden (source: Enova.com.au)

The official Enova website is currently accepting applications from both ‘hosts’ and ‘members’ – that is to say that if you have plenty of free space on your rooftop you could sign up as a host, or if you’re a renter or live in an apartment or can’t get solar for any other reason becoming a member is a great idea. According to the website, “Enova is set to build a 99kW solar system and “sell” the panels to customers who can’t have solar at home”

For the most part it won’t be a ‘solar garden’ per se – most of the power looks like it’ll be generated from rooftop solar. 

According to Echo Net Daily, a Byron Bay based newspaper, a visit from Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Mark Butler met with a great response for the Enova team. Mr Butler visited Enova HQ last Tuesday (June 12) and had some positive things to say about the plan:

Mr Butler said he was ‘excited to support innovative projects like Enova’s Solar gardens’.

The gardens will  ‘make an important contribution towards reducing carbon emissions and transition to a clean energy future, in addition to allowing access to the benefits of solar for renters.’ Mr Butler added. 

With regards to the concept of a ‘solar garden’, the more literal of us are in luck. A feasibility study in Eastern Australia is currently doing research into solar gardens for renters and how viable the concept is. According to EnergyMatters, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has given $240,000 to the $555,00 project – which will be undertaken by the Institute of Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on how Enova’s community solar garden goes and also keep an eye on the feasibility study into the ‘real’ solar gardens. Some more great news for community solar!

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SunTenants offer solar power for renters.

A new Australian company named SunTenants is trying to solve the problem of making the installation of solar panels / storage on rental properties a tenable one for both parties involved. 

SunTenants – about the system.

The process works for both residential and commercial systems, and is simplified into four steps on the website:

  1. Owners install a solar PV system
  2. Tenants pay extra rent, but save more on electricity
  3. SunTenants will monitor the system to ensure it’s a mutually beneficial setup.
  4. Owners will make returns on their investments, and tenants will save money on their electricity (more than the extra rent they’re asked to pay).

For owners, the enhanced property value and increased rental yields will equal over 10% return on the solar investment, according to founder Dr Bjorn Sturmberg.

An article on The Fifth Estate quoting Dr Sturmberg at the All-Energy Australia 2017 Conference:

“Almost one in five Australian households have solar – that’s over 1.7 million properties,” he said. (In Queensland and South Australia over one in three Australian households have solar power installed.)

“But one in three Australians are locked out of solar.” Dr Sturmberg continued. “They’re locked out of energy efficiency as well. They are locked out of EV charging when it comes along. They are locked out of everything because they rent and or live in an apartment.”

“It’s a problem because solar is now the cheapest energy and so you are locked out of taking control of your energy bills,” he said.

“There’s a huge amount of value in there,” Dr Sturmberg continued. “How do we unlock that value?”

His solution is SunTenants – where both the tenant and the homeowner are incentivised to ‘invest’ in solar power for a rental property. 

An example of the SunTenants System

On their website, the company offer the following example of how their system can benefit both the landlord and the tenant:

SunTenants Rental Solar
SunTenants Rental Solar Example Figures (source: suntenants.com)

If you want to learn more about the system they have released an overview video about the process which you can view below:

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