Ensuring more families can contribute to the fight against climate change has been the focus of a partnership between the Community Power Hub Loddon Mallee and Bendigo Community Health Services.

Supported by Sustainability Victoria and the Victorian Government, the Community Power Hub Loddon Mallee’s Solar on Low Income Homes Project has helped with the technical expertise and crowdfunding of the installation of 3kW solar systems on a number of homes throughout Bendigo.

They are now crowdfunding further to extend their reach and increase the number of homes provided with renewable energy.

Community Power Hub Loddon Mallee project manager Tony O’Loughlin said with many families unable to invest in solar energy systems, the goal was “to bring equity to the energy market.”

 “We want to help families take action on climate change, while also reducing their cost of living,” he said.

BCHS settlement engagement and transition support case worker Thalay said “this project will see 15 families have a solar system installed – families who are low-income earners challenged by the cost of today’s utility expenses”.

“Some families involved have spent up to 25 years in a Thai refugee camp, where climate change and environmental issues were not spoken about,” she said.

Mother of two young children, Moe Moe Aung, is excited about using the sun for energy, and wanted to express her gratitude to those behind the project.

Another family who recently bought their own home, thanked BCHS and the Community Power Hub Loddon Mallee “for being here to help our family and care about our environment”.

BCHS settlement team member Thalay said she was “so happy for the families involved, it means everything”.

“They did not know how to organise a solar installation and are grateful to the Power Hub for their work. Yes, it will change their life, and it is not just about money but the environment and all the young families who need a healthy environment to thrive,” she said.

Nay Chee Aung said the project was “awesome; not just for reducing energy bills and the cost of living but for the environment, and a step to being and living green.”

Bendigo Sustainability Group president Colin Lambie said it was “great to have another crowdfunded solar project in Bendigo”.

“We’ve been able to use our position and support the project with our expertise, which is what Community Power is all about,” he said.