MASH ready to donate free solar

Grassroots community solar bulk-buy - MASH - is ready to 'deliver the goods' once again in the form of free solar for the community.

Due to its ongoing success, the MASH bulk-buy has raised just over $7000 to spend on free solar for a community group, not-for-profit kindergarten or school.

This will be the seventh free community solar system donated by the MASH bulk-buy since it started in 2014.

"Thanks to the massive support of MASH from all corners of our community, we have $7220 in free solar ready to give away to a community group or school in Mount Alexander Shire, Macedon Ranges Shire or Bendigo," said Jo Kaptein, executive officer at The Hub Foundation, the not-for-profit organiser of MASH.

"This donation - our biggest ever - comes as a result of the success of MASH round 3.1, as well as from our collaboration with the Castlemaine State Festival and a philanthropic donation from The Hub Foundation."

"We're putting the word out to community groups and schools to send in an application by Friday, April 6.

"This is a terrific opportunity for a community organisation to get a decent size system that could make a real dent in their electricity bill - and show their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint.

"Alternatively, we may be able to donate two smaller systems so we are encouraging all community groups and schools, regardless of size (and roof space) to send in an application."

One of the biggest systems installed through this round of MASH was for Tread Harcourt, the bike-friendly accommodation venue at the base of Mount Alexander near the Goldfields Track.

"We're really pleased with the MASH solar system that was installed in January," said Paula Ewing, co-owner of Tread Harcourt.

"We've got 99 panels on our roof and it's a great feeling knowing we're helping to contribute to the community bonus that's being offered. What's more, our electricity bill has decreased by almost 70 per cent per month.

"Since the installation six weeks ago, our 25 kW system has generated 6.5MWh, offset 3.4t of Co2, offset 22,963km of car travel, and 88 trees.

"There have also been periods of eight hours per day where we don't draw a thing from the grid."

The deadline for applications for the MASH community bonus is 5pm on Friday, April 6. For details on how to apply, visit mash.org.au/freesolar

Members of the selection panel who'll be assessing the applications include Taryn Lane, manager at Hepburn Wind and member of The Hub Foundation's Advisory panel, Jo Kaptein, executive officer at The Hub Foundation and a representative from the Castlemaine State Festival. The system will be installed by the solar provider for MASH round 3.1, Solargain.