FAQ

Do I need to become a CORENA member in order to take part?

No, anyone can chip in. You may choose to become a member if you wish to have a vote at CORENA meetings and AGMs. The membership fees are our main source of income for covering unavoidable expenses, like insurance, web hosting, and financial audits, so you may choose to become a member simply to help us cover admin costs. The membership fee is $25 for an individual, $40 for a family (2 adults), and $10 concession or low-income (self-assessed).

Can I invest instead of donating?

The CORENA Fund only accepts donations, but investment in community-owned renewable energy (CORE) projects is also an excellent way of speeding up the transition to renewable energy. If you prefer to invest rather than donate, you might find an investment opportunity that suits you in the list of CORE projects here, or in this map of Community Energy projects.

Are donations tax deductible?

Not yet. We have applied for tax deductible donation status, but that process can take a while, so we hope you will contribute at least a small amount before then so we can get on with funding our community solar projects right now. If you prefer to wait until donations are tax deductible before making a large contribution, please add yourself to our mailing list and we will notify you when donations become tax deductible.

Is all donated money spent on CORENA's solar projects?

Yes. All contributions to the Big Win Project and the Quick Win Projects, plus the interest earned by that money, will be spent on implementing the solar projects.

In future, if we discover we need to use a small percentage of donations to cover unavoidable costs, we will note that on the donations page so that contributors will know that before they chip in.

How are administration costs covered?

We operate on a shoe-string budget so that 100% of the money donated to the Big Win Project and the Quick Win Projects can be spent on the solar projects themselves. We avoid non-essential expenses, and currently we rely on volunteers’ time for admin tasks. We hope income from membership fees will be sufficient to cover unavoidable admin expenses, like insurance, web hosting, and financial audits.

If the volume of admin work increases in future to a level that requires employing staff, we may need to use a small percentage of donations to cover wages. If that becomes necessary, we will clearly note the percentage we take for expenses on the donation pages on the website.

How do I know my contribution will be used effectively?

We base spending decisions on technology and business advice from the CORENA Fund management committee and other relevant experts so that we can be sure we are spending donated funds effectively.

For the Quick Win Projects, you can see details and costs of the work performed in the Current Project and Funded Projects sections of the website. You can also see honour rolls recording each donation we have received and where it was spent.

For Big Win Projects, you can see an honour roll which records all donations received. Once work starts on the Big Win Project, we will show expenses for that on the website.

What are the advantages of contributing to the Quick Win Projects?

The Quick Win Projects are simple and quick, so your contribution can result in a solar panel or similar at a community building within weeks. For those who want a rapid reduction in carbon emissions, the Quick Win Projects provide a small but almost immediate practical benefit.

We only have one atmosphere, so every Quick Win Project installation benefits us all equally regardless of whether it is next door or on the other side of the country.

What are the advantages of contributing to the Big Win Project?

We need at least some renewable energy installations with storage capacity in order to achieve 100% renewable energy. This makes Australia’s first solar thermal plant an important milestone.

Solar thermal with storage is currently too expensive to be attractive to investors, but people who are contributing towards something they consider essential focus primarily on achieving the desired outcome. For someone helping to fund the Big Win Project, the “return on investment” will be the satisfaction of collectively helping to achieve an important outcome that is difficult to achieve any other way.

What happens if too little money is raised for the Big Win Project?

A 50MW solar thermal plant with storage will cost around $300 million. We have a range of fall-back options if the Big Win Project fund does not receive enough contributions for that within a reasonable timeframe. We might fund a less expensive utility-scale solar project, such as a solar PV farm. Or, if a suitable opportunity arises, we may be able to part-fund a solar thermal plant as one party in a joint venture.

Yes, we do need some renewable energy installations involving storage in order to reach 100% renewable energy, but we also need a lot more other renewable energy installations as well, so your contribution will still be put to very good use.

A number of local community energy cooperatives are currently being planned by various regional groups. If any of those fail to raise enough capital, another possibility would be for us to help fund one or more of those so that they can proceed in a timely manner.