Solar powers Aboriginal ranger program in Northam

Wheatbelt Natural Resources Management (NRM) have been given a boost to the vital environmental services it provides in the Avon River Basin, thanks to a significant solar PV donation from Synergy.

The Synergy Community Solar Fund makes energy more affordable and accessible for the groups, and was established to help members of the WA community to benefit from renewable energy.

Member for Agricultural Region Laurie Graham said the work that Wheatbelt NRM undertook was invaluable for the future of agricultural industries and the health of the Wheatbelt environment.

"Synergy's Community Solar Fund is making a big difference to many community organisations every day and it's fantastic to see that Wheatbelt NRM are recipients of a new solar system in 2019," Mr Graham said.

"Saving on ongoing costs for the organisation and creating a more sustainable future is a great fit for Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management."

Wheatbelt NRM chief executive Natarsha Woods said that the expected savings from rooftop solar would be reinvested into the Aboriginal ranger program.

"The Noongar Budjar Rangers was created in response to a desire from the local community to have employment opportunities 'on country' for the younger Aboriginal generation, giving participants employment skills, while benefiting the natural environment at the same time," she said.

"It is great to be able to save funds and re-invest in this program, for example, a 30 per cent saving on NRM's annual energy bill will mean that more rangers can be employed.

"That means approximately an extra 30 days of employment for people in the community."

Synergy chief executive Jason Waters said that supporting important community causes such as Wheatbelt NRM, particularly through the use of renewable energy, aligned strongly with Synergy's values.

"For a second year, the Synergy Community Solar Fund is helping a diverse mix of community groups to access the wide-reaching benefits of solar energy and reinvest those savings back into the valuable work that they do," Mr Waters said.

"We know that rooftop solar can significantly reduce an organisation's operational costs in both the short and long term, but many not-for-profit groups simply can't afford the upfront cost so they are missing out on these savings."

The four recipients of the Synergy Community Solar Fund were Orana House, PCYC Gosnells, Wheatbelt NRM and Native Animal Rescue in Malaga.

The Synergy Community Solar Fund recipients from 2018 have already saved more than $30,000 since January this year from their solar panels.

In addition, Synergy has provided 110 not-for-profit groups across WA with a free energy audit and energy-saving recommendations.

For more information on the Synergy Community Solar Fund please visit www.synergy.net.au/solarfund.