Social Solar by BREAZE is changing - stay tuned.

58 kW of rooftop solar for Woodbine Inc. in Yarriambiack

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.

WoodbineVany 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. 

More solar for McCallum at Beaston Way

McCallum Beaston WayIn 2021-2022 BREAZE Social Solar funded a 6.6kW system for the first of three Special Disability Accommodation residential developments built for and owned by McCallum Disability Services.

In 2022-2023 BREAZE plans to replicate this 6.6kW solar system on McCallum's other two accommodation units. Be assured that every dollar you donate to our One Dollar One Watt Give Now campaign will take us one step closer to achieving that goal and helping this great local organisation. We will also be applying for grant monies when we can, leveraging public donations to secure government funding.



Solar and batteries for four Pinarc properties

In August 2021 BREAZE Inc.Project Manager, Peter Reid, signed off on the final report for DELWP's New Energy Jobs fund grant that enabled BREAZE to install solar and batteries at all four properties of Ballarat-based  Pinarc - Disability Support provider: English Street, Golden Point ; Sturt Street, Ballarat Central; Otway Street South, Ballarat (Pennyweight Park) and Tait Street, Bonshaw. In all BREAZE Inc installed 76kW of solar PV and batteries at every site, totalling 40kWh.

2021 Pinarc Bonshaw 03Like many not-for-profit organisations, Pinarc does not have the budgetary flexibility to afford the installation of rooftop solar on its buildings, so this project will deliver energy justice and social benefit, contributing cost reductions and emissions reductions that would have not otherwise have been possible. Continual saving on the cost of electricity purchase will flow to Pinarc because of the installations and these savings will enable Pinarc to expand their current programs.

Blending government support with local initiatives, Pinarc Social Solar, accords with the GNet Roadmap’s recommendations for collaborative action: 'Local organisations can engage with governments and energy companies to establish community benefit programs. BREAZE Inc. regards enabling access to the cost-benefits of owning solar panels as an opportunity to deliver social justice and climate justice, since charitable institutions do not have the discretionary funds to invest in rooftop solar, in the same way as householders. This collaboration also offered an opportunity to assist local Ballarat tradespeople through opening up new possibilities for work, thereby also contributing to the region’s economic recovery.

Grampians Renewable Energy Program

In May 2020 the Victorian State Government announced a grant of $450,000 to install solar and battery generated power at eight community buildings and sites, to 'enhance the Ballarat community’s assets, create jobs, reduce energy costs, maximise savings and reduce emissions at a local level.' The eight projects were identified and developed by Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions Inc (BREAZE) through Ballarat’s Community Power Hub to benefit Ballarat and the wider region.

          • Child and Family Services (CAFS) received $30,000 to install solar systems to to reduce energy costs enabling savings to be directed into community programs. In addition
          • McCallum Disability Services received $70,000 to install solar on eight social housing sites for people with disOCA  CAGrove launch 9 7 2021abilities to reduce their energy costs.
          • Ballarat Regional Industries received $35,000 to install solar to offset energy costs for workshop site for disability services provider and enhance job opportunities.
          • Ballarat Cemetery Trust received $80,000 to install battery to provide power to crematorium during power outages.
          • Ballarat Table Tennis Association received $35,000 to install a solar system to offset costs and provide better facilities for members.
          • Ballarat Squash and Racquetball Club received $25,000 to install a 20 kW solar system to offset costs and provide better facilities for members.
          • The Old Colonists' Association received $75,000 to install solar on twelve social housing sites for low socio-economic pensioners - actually installed solar on 37 units, and the Community Centre with additional funds from a Bank Australia Impact Grant.
          • Uniting Care Australia received $100,000 to install solar systems on UnitingCare social housing in Ballarat and Western Victoria to reduce energy costs for low-income households - originally committed for 15 properties but actually delivered installations on 49 properties.

 Completed in September 2021 the Grampians Renewable Energy program, co-administered by BREAZE Inc. in partnership with DELWP Ballarat staff, delivered 384.16kW of rooftop solar  across 105 properties and a 27.6kWH battery. This Program overdelivered on the 42 properties originally envisaged for the $450,172 investment.

Steering Committee for Old Colonists' Association Inc. Retirement Village solar installation – 37 units and the community centre – OCA volunteer committee and BREAZE volunteers - front row L-R: OCA President, Jo Barber, DELWP Grampians Regional Manager, Katherine Campbell and BREAZE Project Coordinator, Peter Reid (OAM).

Good for the Environment: Great for the Community

Social Solar byMcCallum BREAZE uses donations and grants to supply solar panels and/or solar hot water or batteries, to not-for-profit community organisations. This results in more renewable energy in our region, reduced emissions and social justice—which is exactly what BREAZE Inc.stands for.

Our first project was 30kW of solar panels for Ballarat Regional Industries' (BRI) Walker Street factory. BRI estimate that the savings they will make from their reduced electricity costs will allow them to employ up to three more people with disabilities. This is a terrific social bonus on top of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions — the key positive environmental outcome. This project is now complete.

Our second project, called One Dollar for One Watt, was a collaboration with social housing providers to put solar panels and/or solar hot water on suitable properties. This is an ongoing project where we ask other organisations and groups to fund raise on behalf of BREAZE. For details about fund raising for the project, then then please read our Fundraising Information.
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Since 2016 BREAZE has contributed 67kW  of Social Solar. We'd love to make that 100kW by the end of 2020.  If your business or employer is keen to make a difference let them know about our Social Solar program - check out our fund-raising link and get in touch. 

For further information email .