Many Hands Make Solar Work - How Community Can Help Solar Projects Take Off

There are so many benefits of installing solar panels on public buildings and facilities – yet one simple factor often gets in the way: funding.

More and more however, we’re seeing how a little innovative thinking is helping local organisations to overcome this challenge. There’s perhaps no better example of this than Bowls Safety Bay Inc. – a bowling club in the WA suburb of Shoalwater with over 550 members, four synthetic greens and a clubhouse.

Like many clubs of this type, the facility demands a lot of electricity to run throughout the day and so overheads are high. Installing a commercial solar power system was an obvious choice to help neutralise these expenses, but how could the club afford the initial cost of the system?

In WA, councils own the local bowl clubs and pay an annual ‘running or maintenance cost’ to keep them in operation. Lucky for Bowls Safety Bay, the City Of Rockingham is particularly proactive about using solar power to decrease electricity expenses. They pitched in around half of the total cost to get the club’s solar panels installed, which of course provides them with exceptional long-term savings after their investment is paid off.

So what about the other 50%?

The Bowls Safety Bay  project required a 20kW Fronius Symo system and a total of 76 Q-Cells solar panels. Many of the club’s members are retired volunteers – they spend a lot of time at the facility, are loyal to it and hope to see its continued success. With this in mind, the club thought out a clever initiative, asking members to ‘donate towards a solar panel’ to help pay off the remainder of the system – solar panel by panel.

As a reward for their contribution, members who donate are recognised on a wall-mounted ‘solar plaque’ that was kindly donated by Q-Cells. Member’s names are inscribed as a sign of the club’s appreciation for pitching in.
Thanks to some great initiative from the council and clever ideas from the club, the project went ahead and was completed in January 2016.

It’s an amazing achievement and one that will help ensure the club can continue servicing the local community in the most environmentally-responsible way.

Solargain