Solar Project

With the controversial new Energex Sub-Station and high voltage power lines proposed for Eumundi and Belli Park, the Association for Sustainable Communities Inc has completed a project demonstrating solar energy as a viable alternative.

We have been fortunate to receive $33,000 in funding from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund for a project modeling and teaching the benefits of solar power.

The solar project, incorporating cutting edge technology in harnessing the sun’s energy, is on show at the Bellbunya Sustainable Community and Eco-Conference Centre at Belli Park.

The project is timely as the Sunshine Coast’s rapid population growth is causing pressure on existing energy supplies.  As with many local residents, the Association is concerned about the impacts and costs of infrastructure to increase electricity supply from centralised coal power stations.

Our project shows how simple and cost-effective it is to make energy on-site and reduce power usage.   We have installed a 7.2KVA solar array, incorporating a 1KVA display at the Bellbunya Community Hall where people gather during eco-retreats and sustainability conferences.

We should not underestimate the value of renewable energy as a cost-effective solution to sustainability.  Major projects, such as the proposed Eumundi Sub-station, can be avoided by households and businesses reducing
their reliance on grid power, especially during hot days when power demand is at its peak.  It is at these peak times that solar power is most efficient.

Through a partnership with Nambour TAFE during 2009 and 2010, approximately 30 TAFE students have been involved in experiential learning at the Bellbunya sustainability centre.  Students were engaged in processes of energy auditing and reporting, system designs, costing and installations.

We are proud to acknowledge the support of the Sustainable Living Association Inc in project management, the Bellbunya Community Association and of the Nambour TAFE (Diploma in Renewable Energy) students and staff for partnering us in this project.  We thank Planet Power for their support of our organisation and for supplying all of our project equipment.

We gratefully acknowledge that this project is funded through the Queensland Government's Gambling Community Benefit Fund, which has provided $33,000 to purchase and install a renewable energy system, monitoring devices and a solar hot water system.