Community Renewable Energy

Exciting Announcement about Two Successful Appointments for our President, Jeff Barlow!

Appointment to YREAC! Jeff is now in a position to expand the scope of our work as an organization with two recent successful appointments. He has been appointed to the Yarra Ranges Environment Advisory Committee (YREAC), which is a committee that meets every two months to advise YR Council on environmental issues. This is an individual appointment for Jeff, in his own right, rather than as a representative of Healesville CoRE, but the issue of community renewable energy will be a major point of interest for Jeff on this committee, amongst other important environmental issues.

This appointment, which is for three years, will enable the issue of climate change and community renewable energy to be considered more closely by the committee, with a view to, hopefully, our work being supported to expand beyond Healesville to other towns in the Yarra Ranges municipality. The first business meeting of the committee on Thursday 2 May at the Council Chambers in Lilydale, saw a vigorous and energized discussion on climate change and renewable energy. Jeff also provided the Committee with a recently published Blueprint for how Councils can be involved with their community in transitioning to Net Zero. If you would like to read this document click on this link:

Appointment to the Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps! Jeff will train for three days in Brisbane in June this year to become an Ambassador for Climate Change with a commitment to personally run a minimum of 10 events related to climate change, within one year.

Jeff will bring back to Healesville, and elsewhere, the skills he will gain in Brisbane, to further develop the work of Healesville CoRE, and to expand our work beyond Healesville with support from our Central Committee and our team of volunteers!


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Healesville Community Bank Low Interest Solar Loan

The Healesville Community (Bendigo) Bank has been an active supporter of Healesville CoRE since our beginning prior to our first community gathering in June 2017! In fact, members of the bank board worked with the Healesville CoRE Steering Group to help get us started, and their help, their community connections and their active financial support were essential and very much appreciated.

The Chair of the Healesville Community Bank Board, Bruce Argyle, has written to Healesville CoRE to advise of their ongoing support:

“The Healesville Community Bank Board has prioritised partnership with Healesville CoRE for the coming years as we support your initiative to become a net zero emissions town.”

Finance Options from the Healesville Community Bank for Installation of Solar Equipment

  1. For new Bendigo Bank customers or those willing to refinance then the bank can include solar fixtures, similar to ‘renovations/household improvements’, subject to meeting serviceability requirements, at the current Connect 3 Product rate of 3.89% interest.
  2. For existing Bendigo Bank customers, they can do a redraw on their existing mortgage facility at the same interest rate as the mortgage (or less) and it is suggested that customers come into the branch to chat about what the bank can do for you.
  3. For secured personal loans the bank can finance solar fixtures at 6.59% interest currently, with some Manager discretion possible, for 1-5 or 7 years’ term.
  4. For unsecured personal loans we can finance solar fixtures at 10.99% interest currently, with some Manager discretion possible, for 1-5 or 7 years term.
      1. *All interest rates are subject to change.

The Victorian Government is investing significant amounts of money in financing solar installations for households, including batteries, and for rental properties, and these grants will be announced in the coming months. With these grants, if you are eligible, combined with low interest loans and continuing decreases in the costs of solar panels and batteries, there has never been a better time to invest in solar energy for your home.

Interested persons are strongly encouraged to have a conversation with Healesville Bendigo Bank Branch Manager, Rosanna Miguel, to ensure that the bank is providing the most competitive possible package. If you are quoted a better rate elsewhere then get in touch with your local bank – the Healesville Community Bank.



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Monash University Green Steps Program

Healesville CoRE was very excited to be chosen by Monash University as part of the University’s community outreach program. Monash University is moving towards creating a Net Zero carbon status across all their campuses. They have set themselves a target of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030 and have already installed a range of energy efficiencies, as well as renewable energy production, storage and distribution at their Clayton campus, including a huge container sized battery!

Their charter includes using the information and experience they obtain from their own projects to assist the broader community. And Healesville CoRE is fortunate and proud to have been chosen as a partner.

Connected with this community outreach, the Monash University Net Zero Initiative team has established a ‘Green Steps’ program to enable some of their students to volunteer to assist communities like Healesville, interested in also achieving a Net Zero carbon status.

At the end of 2018, three student volunteers were chosen by the Net Zero Initiative team to work with Healesville CoRE to assist us in working towards our goals for the Healesville community. Their Project Consultancy Brief was to:

“Help the community of Healesville with their first project towards achieving a Net Zero emissions town: a Solar Bulk Buy scheme …; planning and implementing the community engagement strategy for the long-term success of the Solar Bulk Buy scheme and other Net Zero Projects.”

The three students worked in conjunction with the Healesville CoRE Central Committee to produce three pieces of work:

  1. Research the best practice re community engagement strategies for bulk buys used by other communities and in consultation with Healesville CoRE make recommendations for a community engagement strategy for Healesville and produce a report on this.
  2. In consultation with Healesville CoRE, design and run a Community Solar Survey to assist Healesville CoRE to better understand the take up of solar energy in Healesville in the past and what future community intentions are and to analyse the survey results for Healesville CoRE.
  3. To help Healesville CoRE produce a brochure on ‘How you can make a difference!” designed to provide basic information on energy efficiency and solar energy which could be used for the Healesville Community.

The Healesville CoRE Central Committee provided a lot of support for the students and was very pleased with the collaboration and with the outcome. The Committee invited the students to present their report at the last Committee meeting for 2018 and the President, Jeff Barlow, presented all students with a Certificate of Appreciation and a small gift of Yarra Valley produce, which they were delighted to receive.

It is hoped that each year Healesville CoRE might participate in the Green Steps program as the consultation and work done by the students is of great benefit to them and to the Healesville community.

See here for the Green Steps Sustainability Consultancy Project Brief
See here for the Green Steps Healesville Community Survey Report
See her for the Net Zero For Communities Final Report

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Did you ask a Question?

We answered it at the Q&A Healesville Community Gathering 2017 June 29th

and we will answer more!

  • What happens if your neighbour decides to put on an extension or renovation and your building might get shaded?
  • Does being off-grid make a town safer during a bushfire?
  • What about the mining of lithium that has just opened, and could produce up to a quarter of the world’s supply?
  • Which way should solar panels face, to get the best bang-for-your-buck?

Can you see yourself in the videos? (that’s the question we’re asking you)

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Energy Stress in Healesville?


Perhaps technologies that save, store or produce energy would help your household.    What do you need?

  • Money?
  • Knowledge?
  • Time?
  • People?
  • Control?

Don’t we all!  A new report by the Australian Council of Social Service, the  Brotherhood of St Laurence and The Climate Institute talks about empowering families to access affordable clean energy.

Let HealesvilleCoRE know your biggest energy worries and together we can start to fix them.

…and of course, ask our government to help…because rolling back support for renewables isn’t so smart.


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Fact: The cheapest form of new power generation is renewable

Fact: The cheapest form of new power generation is renewable

Wind and solar are now the cheapest form of

new power generation in Australia.

Low wind prices are reflected in recent

contracts for wind.

Worldwide, the cost of large-scale wind and

solar plants continues to fall. Onshore wind costs

fell 18%, and solar PV costs fell 17% in the past

year. Globally, wind prices have reached

record lows.

Sources: * Climate Council 2017

BNEF (2017) BNEF Research – New coal the most expensive

form of new supply.

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