November 4, 2021

Powerhouse Brookvale: an urban renewable energy zone

What is an Urban Renewable Energy Zone? And who or what is the Solar Alliance? Read on…

Imagine this. A clean, green, mini-power plant in the city where local businesses get paid for energy they collect from their roof; where cars and trucks are powered by the sun; where residences and businesses share energy storage; where having solar panels on your roof is not just smart, it’s normal.

It’s nearly here. Brookvale is home to the largest commercial area within the Northern Beaches and it’s also a powerhouse for renewable energy – 7000 solar panels producing 2 MWp. There are panels on car showrooms, hotels and office blocks, boutique brewers and coffee roasters. But there is room for so much more. Taking that number to 70,000 solar panels (which is 50% of Brookvale’s suitable roofs) is, well… You do the maths. 20 mW, the size of a small power station.

The trouble is, in spite of tax breaks, rebates and the best efforts of solar salesmen not enough businesses have jumped on the solar train. The obvious incentive – money – isn’t getting the attention of small business owners with day-to-day worries about Covid, cash flow and customers.

That’s where the Solar Alliance comes in. The Solar Alliance is a group of volunteers from Clean Energy for Eternity and Zero Emissions Sydney North. We aim to bring the community together around the inspiring vision of Powerhouse Brookvale, get people talking about solar, and talking to each other. We’re putting early adopters – Solar Champions, we call them – together with skilled volunteers – Solar Ambassadors – to provide trusted peer-to-peer support, instead of the solar hard sell. We help with finance, we do the research, we fill in the forms. All businesses need is a roof.

The project launches officially in February of next year, but we’re already running pilot schemes and looking for Solar Ambassadors. And we’re thrilled to announce that we have just won a $5000 grant from the Northern Beaches Council towards the project.

If you’re a business owner or property owner in Brookvale, of if you feel inspired by the idea of an Urban Renewable Energy Zone, we’d love to hear from you.

Read more about Renewable Energy Zones and Urban renewables:

What are Renewable Energy Zones?

https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/sustainable-urban-energy-future

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/04/renewable-energy-urban-city-emissions/

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