BREAZE Social Solar: Warracknabeal Project



 In November 2022 BREAZE Inc. received a grant via the Victorian Government's New Energy Jobs Fund Round 6 (NEJF6) to install 58kW of solar PV across 5 properties owned and operated by Woodbine Inc., a disability provider in Warracknabeal. This is the third grant BREAZE Inc. has received through the New Energy Jobs Fund, which has been running for 6 years. The 5 properties include three accommodation blocks (one in Echuca), an office and workshop.

Vany Gunaratnam, BREAZE Inc Project Manager,  estimates that the solar panels will save Woodbine approximately 30% of its energy costs, funds which will be freed up for its core business, helping people with disabilities and their families. 


The project, like most community energy projects has a bit of a backstory, originating as a feasibility study undertaken in 2019 by the Ballarat Community Power Hub – delivered by Sustainability Victoria from 2017-2020. At the time, network capacity limits stalled the the project's implementation. Re-visited in late 2021 by BREAZE Inc.'s Paul Duggan (Grampians Community Power Hub, Project Control Group) – the Woodbine project got a re-boot on the back of network improvements and the timely announcement of NEF6. Following consultation with Woodbine CEO Bernie O'Connor (left in picture above with Paul Duggan) and Deputy CEO Jo Tobias, BREAZE Inc. submitted an application.  Under the grant, Woodbine Inc and BREAZE Inc. have jointly matched 50% of the NEJF funding ($44,700) from the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA, which recently replaced DLWP).  The Woodbine Solar Project is being managed by a steering group consisting of BREAZE Board members Vany Gunaratnam and Mary Debrett and Woodbine's incoming CEO Jason Minter and Deputy CEO Jo Tobias, who will all meet monthly via Zoom until the project is complete and the contract fulfilled. 

We thank DEECA for this opportunity to work with them again in expanding regional access to renewable energy and cutting GHG emissions – and to all our members for enabling us to do this work via your donations and subscriptions. This project will mean Woodbine has more to invest in its great work in providing services for people with disabilities in Warracknabeal and its environs.