The Community Solar Hot Water & Heat Pump Bulk Buy is here!


In our quest to transition Healesville into a Net Zero town, we have embarked on a Community Solar Hot Water Bulk Buy with Reclaim Energy, a supplier of heat pumps, and Apricus, a supplier of evacuated tubes. These two solar systems are incredibly efficient at producing hot water for homes and businesses for less cost.

Hot water heating in our region is expensive, often relying on inefficient electric hot water systems that generate high amounts of climate pollution. Switching to an energy efficient hot water system will save you money and benefit the environment.

There’s never been a better time to replace your hot water system. The Victorian Government has added a further rebate to already generous subsidies. Households now have an opportunity to purchase an energy efficient hot water system at an upfront price that’s competitive with traditional systems. That means you’ll have low upfront costs, and immediate cost savings.

We want to make sure that communities in our town make the most of this opportunity, securing cost savings, reducing climate pollution, and creating a healthy electricity network, all at the same time.

Model type: REHP-CO2-315GL (315 enamel tank with Co2 natural refrigerant system)

A heat pump functions like an air conditioner in reverse. Instead of an inefficient electric heating element it uses heat pump technology to extract energy from the air to heat the water.

Five key points for the Reclaim CO2 heat pump

Up to five times more efficient than electric hot water tanks;
Smart controller to integrate with your household and optimize performance;
Pair it with solar PV for even greater cost savings: the heat pump is equivalent to a 4 kW battery storage system;
Reduces your water heating carbon emissions by up to 80% (100% is achievable if integrated with solar);
Product warranty of up to 15 years.
The Reclaim heat pump is a quiet system and the best performing heat pump in cooler climates like ours. It uses carbon dioxide, as a refrigerant, rather than toxic refrigerants.

To find out more about the Reclaim CO2 Heat Pump click here to view the brochure

or visit the Reclaim Energy website.

Model type: AE-315-GL-BOT-30 (315 litre enamel tank with 30 tubes and network power boosted)

These tubes produce hot water from solar energy. The tubes are designed to passively track the sun, up to 95% of the solar energy they capture.

Five key points for the Apricus Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water System

Heat using free energy from the sun.
Reduce your energy consumption by up to 80% by replacing your existing electric hot water unit;
Reduce hot water emissions by between 60-90%;
High performance in cold weather with in-built frost protection, hail resistance, and cyclone rated mounting frames;
Up to 15-year warranty
We have some of the best solar resources in the country and Apricus Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water Systems assists homeowners to capitalize on that. The tube collectors are designed to passively track the sun, but they’re also designed for our cold winters, rated to handle frost down to -15°C.

To find our more about the Apricus Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water System click here to view the brochure

or visit the Apricus website.

Pricing will vary based on where you are, your current system, and the requirements for system install.

Approximate price including install for the Reclaim CO2 Heat Pump: $2000 – 2200

Approximate price including install for the Apricus Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water: $3000-$3,100

Prices include subsidies for the replacement of a standard electric element hot water system, and also Solar Victoria Hot Water Rebate of $1,000

Click to register your interest for a free no obligation discussion about your solar hot water needs.
If you decide to go ahead you can click on Book a Home Visit and pay a Community fee of $50 to help Healesville CoRE with our community work.
Reclaim Energy and Apricus installation partners will be in touch to arrange a free site inspection. A local plumber and electrician will conduct a site inspection and you’ll receive a quote.
A local plumber and electrician will install your system.
You can claim the relevant Government subsidies yourself or get help from the Reclaim Energy or Apricus rep who will assist you with the relevant government subsidies. OR one of our installers will take care of the subsidies for you. You can choose which way to do this.
Your system is installed and you can sit back and enjoy low cost, low carbon, hot water.

View the Apricus Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water System Brochure

View the Apricus Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water System Website

View the Reclaim CO2 Heat Pump Brochure

View the Reclaim CO2 Heat Pump Website


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Community Solar Panels and Battery Offer

Healesville CoRE Is Powering Up…

Healesville CoRE is very excited to inform you that we are currently running a Community Solar Panels and / or Battery Offer for anyone residing in the 3777 post code area, which commenced in February 2019.

Previously it had been announced that the Yarra Ranges Council would run a bulk buy but that
decision has now been deferred to 2019 some time, and Healesville CoRE has decided that we
do not want to wait!

We have an agreement with Mondo Power, an organization that has run bulk buys for other
community groups and which also installed the Yackandandah micro grid. Mondo Power will
organize the technical side of the project and Healesville CoRE will manage the promotion with
Mondo Power’s support. See here for info about Mondo Power:

The decision to partner with Mondo Power was voted on at the Central Committee meeting on
18 October 2018. Working with Mondo Power will assist Healesville CoRE in working towards
our long-term goal of transitioning Healesville into a Net Zero town by 2027. The detail of this
Community Solar Bulk Buy has not yet been worked out but there will be a lot of promotion
leading up to the launch date in February next year including community information sessions
which will be announced in due course.

Healesville CoRE is also very excited to announce that the Healesville Community Bank is
supporting this Community Bulk Buy and we will have information available at a later date on
some attractive interest rates for loans to enable as many community members as possible to

At this stage it is planned to offer solar panels at three price points together with an option of
batteries, plus a Fronius inverter and an electronic monitoring device called, wait for it – Ubi. It
will be a condition of the offer that those who participate will be required to purchase the Ubi.

The reason for this is that we all need to know how our panels and batteries are functioning,
when the panels need cleaning, which electrical appliances are using the most energy when
power is at its most expensive point in the day, how much energy is being produced by our
panels from the sun and when, and much more. But more importantly, the Ubi will allow
connection to the future Microgrid which Healesville will set up with Mondo Power and this will
mean, with a cooperative retailer, Healesville residents should be able to trade energy with
each other and even donate energy to those in need in the community! See here for further
info on the Ubi & Mini or Micro Grid:

The Ubi is a smart energy monitoring and management system that delivers accurate and
timely information to your computer, tablet or smartphone. Ubi monitors your electricity use, solar system and battery, providing real-time data about your energy consumption, generation
and storage. You can even switch appliances on or off remotely using your smart phone.

What is a Community Solar Bulk Buy?

Bulk Buys have in the past been equated with discounted systems where buying in bulk means
cheap systems. Healesville CoRE is not aiming to provide the cheapest systems. Instead we are
aiming to provide, for a fair price, the best quality systems, with endurance, performance,
long term warranty, service backup, installed safely and securely by qualified and certified
installers with supervision by Mondo Power. More importantly we are thinking of the future in
transitioning Healesville to a Net Zero town ie producing more electrical energy than we
consume and the Ubi monitoring system will be a requirement to enable the Micro Grid to

We want quality at a fair price, with a focus on whole community benefit in the longer term.
We understand that some people will prefer to purchase the cheapest systems they can afford
and we understand and respect that, but it is not in our interest, or in the community interest,
for Healesville CoRE to focus on that. Those people have lots of options in the market place
from which to get quotes for themselves.

Anyone who purchases a system through the Community Bulk Buy will be required to join
Healesville CoRE as a member for a small fee. We have to pay for our administration expenses
and this membership fee will partly fund us to do so.

How will the Healesville Community Solar Bulk Buy Work?

Healesville CoRE will negotiate with Mondo Power on behalf of the Healesville community. We
will also promote the Bulk Buy via our website, social media, newspaper, radio, market stalls,
shop front advertising etc and we will also hold community gatherings where we will invite
Mondo Power to provide information and answer your questions. Healesville CoRE will
essentially be a provider of information and a broker of trust.

Most importantly Healesville residents and businesses will be spared the angst of having to
research and find a quality system with quality installation where the warranty is secure and
where there is backup provided into the future AND participants will also be contributing to
the long-term goal of transitioning Healesville into a Net Zero town!

The details have not yet been finalized but essentially, when we have the online registration
system set up, anyone interested in the Bulk Buy will be able express an interest, and in essence
the following process will be, provisionally, what will happen:

  1. Mondo Power will contact you by phone to discuss your situation and to make a time
    for an installer to visit to see if your roof is suitable for solar power and what
    configuration of panels would be suitable and whether a battery is required.
  2. Pricing will be provided and you will be able to compare this with other quotations you
    get from your own research.
  3. If you decide to purchase from the Mondo Power supported bulk buy, then they will
    arrange for the supply of the equipment, the provision of a qualified and solar-certified
    installer, who has also been trained by Mondo Power to install the Ubi. Where possible,
    local installers will be used as a priority, thus keeping money in the local community.
  4. Your system will be installed, connected, tested, signed off, and handed over to you to
    produce free solar energy.
  5. The cost of the system (depending on how large and whether with batteries or not)
    could potentially be paid off over a 5-7 year period, by the savings you make from your
    solar energy production (depending of course on when and how often you use
    electricity and how much you consume). Then, after your system has been paid off, your
    solar energy production will be free for the expected life of the panels which is 25+

What if I already have Solar Panels?

Not a problem. You will be able to get advice from Mondo Power’s preferred installers as to
what your options are, options such as:

  • Add additional solar panels
  • Replace your existing solar panels with a new system (if existing panels are poor quality,
    degraded, damaged etc)
  • Continue to use your existing inverter or purchase a new inverter
  • Add a battery or not
  • Add the Mondo Power Ubi at additional cost (this will be a requirement).

In Conclusion:

We hope you will agree that this is an exciting development in the work Healesville CoRE is
doing for our community and we hope you will spread the word and that you will consider
joining the scheme.
We are not yet taking expressions of interest but will definitely let you know when you can

I am very excited to be able to bring you this great news after just 16 months since we held our
first community gathering at the Memo. I would also like to thank all our financial members,
our supporters, our donors and volunteers, without whom this exciting community project
could not have begun!

Jeff Barlow
President, Healesville CoRE

On behalf of the Healesville CoRE Central Committee
20 October 2018

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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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Healesville Net Zero Town Project

Healesville Net Zero Town Project – 2018’
The ambition of Healesville CoRE is to transition our town to net zero emissions and create greater energy independence for Healesville. The broader objective is for the community to feel empowered to have more control and ownership over the production, distribution and storage of the town’s renewable energy

What was the Healesville Net Zero Town Project & Why Was it Created?
In 2017, Healesville CoRE partnered with Monash University’s Net Zero Initiative and the Yarra Ranges Council to apply for a New Energy Jobs Fund Grant from the Victorian Government, to create a feasibility study and transition plan for Healesville to become a Net Zero Town. Although our team was shortlisted and went to interview for the grant, our application was ultimately not successful.

Nevertheless, Monash University offered to create a ‘pro bono’ project for Healesville CoRE, with two students to undertake an Options Study, supervised by Dr Roger Dargaville (Senior Lecturer in Monash’s Department of Civil Engineering) and Dr Yasmina Dkhissi, the Monash University Net Zero Strategy Manager.

Luke Barry and Nick Seymour, both Monash University Environmental Engineering students, were selected to do the research and provide a report. Their work commenced in March 2018 and was completed in June 2018, with a written report and a presentation on 21st June 2018, at the Healesville CoRE first anniversary community gathering at the Memo in Healesville: ‘Our Solar town: from dreams to reality”.

Why was Monash Motivated to Establish this Program?
According to Dr Yasmina Dkhissi, “Monash Uni through its Net Zero Initiative is committed to Climate Action, Leadership and Partnerships. Monash Uni is transforming its own infrastructure and assets to transition to net zero emissions by 2030 and building an innovative,100% renewable powered Microgrid on its Clayton campus.

Monash is committed to creating a positive impact beyond the campus boundaries and helping community organisations embarking on similar journeys.

Monash sees Healesville Net Zero town as the perfect opportunity to promote collaborative and innovative approaches to solving today’s great sustainability challenges. It allows Monash students to apply and further their skills and knowledge on an interdisciplinary ‘real-word’ challenge being driven by a local community group, supported to find practical solutions that will benefit the region and beyond. If this project could help enable collaborations with local industry partners, we strongly believe that this would constitute one great step towards achieving Healesville CoRE’s vision.”

Healesville CoRE was excited to work with such a professional team willing to support a group of community volunteers in achieving our big ambition of a Net Zero Town by 2027. The final report provided by Nick Seymour and Luke Barry provides us with a secure foundation and a direction for our project.

Healesville Net Zero Town Project – Scope (March 2018)
Healesville Net Zero Town Report – July 2018

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