Vinnies in Lismore has invested in a major new solar energy system, with 100 solar panels, in a step to reduce its carbon footprint as well as save on energy and operating costs.
‘Electricity is our second largest cost after waste expenses, said St Vincent de Paul Society executive officer Michael Timbrell.
‘Our building in Lismore – which includes a retail shop as well as our head office – has had the largest power usage across the Lismore Diocese, which spans from Tweed Heads to Port Macquarie.
As part of the new 25-kilowatt system, a total of 100 solar panels – each 1.6 metres long and 0.9 metres wide – have been installed.
Mr Timbrell said a trial installation of a solar energy system at its Vinnies shop in Casino a year ago had proved to be a worthwhile environmental and financial investment and had prompted the installation project in Lismore.
‘Going solar in Casino proved to be very effective in minimising our carbon footprint and has reduced our electricity costs at this property by 70 per cent – that’s a significant saving over a one year period,’ he said.
‘By investing in solar, we have the ability to reduce our operating costs considerably – and in turn, this vital money can instead go towards helping people experiencing severe disadvantage in the local community.’
‘The new solar energy system in Lismore will also help to create a cleaner and healthier environment – in fact, according to Nickel Energy, it is equivalent to taking 53 cars off the road or planting more than 2,100 trees,’ he said.
Mr Timbrell added that the organisation will continue to look at initiatives to gain energy efficiencies at its retail shops and other office space around the Lismore Diocese.
‘Our long term goal is to install solar energy at all our properties when we undertake any future renovations and refurbishments,’ he said.