14 April, 2015: The results of the first round of the Mount Alexander Solar Homes (MASH) solar bulk-buy project were reported in today’s RenewEconomy in an article entitled, ‘How bulk-buying solar is paying off for communities in Victoria.’
The article describes how the project was organised and marketed as well as the results. It documents the lessons learned which the Hub Foundation, the Castlemaine not-for-profit behind the MASH project, is incorporating into the next round of MASH, MASH2, which will launch in Mount Alexander Shire in May 2015.
Here are a few excerpts from the article. Read the full story here.
“One of the many ways to boost renewables is to offer households a bulk-buy price for solar from an organisation they will trust. With some seed funding and adherence to a few basic rules, community groups could run successful bulk-buys all over the country. Some have of course – especially in the Goulburn Valley area of Victoria – but it’s been quite ad-hoc to date.”
“After two months of intensive marketing, we had 360 expressions of interest to pass over to the installer we had appointed. 200 installations took place over the following six months. As houses and renovations are completed over the next few months, the final total is expected to rise to around 225.”
“Whilst the number who finally committed was a bit lower than we expected, the outcome has been very encouraging given the paid and voluntary effort involved. The project accounted for an impressive 65% of total installations in the last four months of the year and the percentage of houses with solar in the Shire has risen from 18% at the end of 2013 to 24% today.”
“As a result, the Shire is equal second in the solar stakes in Victorian LGAs. Only Indigo Shire, which contains the very green areas of Yackandandah and Beechworth, with 28% of houses with rooftop solar, is ahead of us.”
“In MASH 1 we didn’t claw back any money at all as we had some philanthropic seed funding. From now on, however, we are putting ourselves on a more sustainable footing by earning an average of $200 from each installation. As a result, MASH 2 should bring in enough to cover our costs and leave a bit for next time.”