The finalists have been announced for the 2020 Clean Energy Council Awards, the ninth year of the Australian renewable energy industry’s most prestigious awards.

Technology that allows apartment tenants to share the benefits of solar, a program to encourage more female participation in renewable energy construction, and a rewards promotion offering miniature versions of solar panels and inverters are just some examples of the awards finalists.

The Clean Energy Council Awards are designed to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution of individuals and businesses to clean energy in Australia.

As the industry has grown, the groundbreaking innovations, world-class community engagement initiatives, and creative promotional and communications campaigns have become increasingly sophisticated. 

The Clean Energy Council said the high calibre of the finalists in this year’s awards continues this trend and highlights the remarkable work being done across the Australian renewable energy sector.

The finalists for the 2020 Clean Energy Council Awards are:

Innovation Award

5B partnered with Nomadic Energy to deploy its MAVERICK technology at a Western Australia mine site. MAVERICK is a pre-wired, pre-fabricated solar block that can be folded up, rolled out quickly and redeployed if required. The system, which was delivered through a unique five-year solar lease agreement, was the fastest deployed megawatt-scale solar project on a mine site worldwide and resulted in a per unit electricity cost reduction of approximately 40 per cent per kWh.

Allume Energy deployed its SolShare technology on a community housing apartment building in Melbourne. SolShare is a behind-the-meter solar sharing technology that enables solar power from a single rooftop PV system to be shared by multiple units within a building. In the first six months of the technology’s deployment, the Solshare system met 39 per cent of residents’ total electricity demand and reduced each apartment’s electricity bill by over $155.

Western Power conducted a trial rollout of six stand-alone power systems (SPS) in Western Australia’s Great Southern region. The trial was an overwhelming success, with the systems found to be more reliable and safer than poles and wires, require less maintenance, provide considerable cost savings and deliver real on-ground benefits for customers. The trial was so successful that Western Power has commissioned an additional 52 SPS in 2020 and will be rolling out a further 100 units in 2021.

Community Engagement Award

ACCIONA launched the Neighbourhood Benefit Program for the community surrounding the Mortlake South Wind Farm. The program provides households located within 4km of a wind turbine with a pre-loaded EFTPOS card that they can use to purchase goods and services at participating local businesses. The program was a key element in ACCIONA achieving and maintaining a social licence to operate in the area by ensuring that the benefits of the wind farm are shared within the local community.

Beon developed the Women in Solar Program as part of its community engagement process for the Bomen Solar Farm. The program is designed to improve the participation rate of women in the construction of renewable energy projects by focusing on recruitment, training and retention. During the solar farm’s construction, the program provided training and employment to eleven women and established several initiatives to encourage and support women to pursue a career in renewable energy.

Sustainability Victoria established the Community Power Hub program to support and facilitate the development of community energy projects in regional Victoria. The program assisted community organisations looking to install a renewable energy project by providing administration, coordination and feasibility support. This program helped 15 projects proceed to the implementation stage in the 2019/20 financial year, generating more than $14.5 million of value, a 13-to-1 leverage on the government’s investment in the program.

Tilt Renewables implemented an extensive benefit sharing plan for the community surrounding the Dundonnell Wind Farm. The plan included the installation of a mini-grid, a road safety fund, support for local not-for-profit organisations, community organisations and mental health providers, a major contribution towards safe housing for women fleeing domestic violence and education funding for residents. In addition to maintaining Tilt Renewables’ social licence in the region, the plan will create a lasting legacy by helping the prevention of suicide, supporting vulnerable communities and creating educational opportunities.

Marketing and Communications Award

Future Energy Skills and Ellis Jones developed the Know your Battery campaign, which was designed to generate consumer awareness of, and demand for, accredited solar battery electricians by communicating the benefits of hiring qualified tradespeople. Using a multi-channel strategy that included a campaign microsite, social media marketing and a paid partnership with The Guardian, the campaign achieved almost 25,000 page views. It also successfully increased consumer and industry awareness of accredited tradespeople and training.

GEM Energy developed a communications and marketing strategy to educate consumers on the value and long-term benefits of basing their rooftop solar purchasing decision on quality rather than price. The strategy used a combination of online and traditional channels, including social media, video and written tutorials, print media and events. In the nine months to April 2020, the strategy reached 525,000 people on Facebook and educated more than 7,000 consumers via YouTube tutorial videos.

One Stop Warehouse developed a reward promotion that provided customers with miniature versions of branded One Stop Warehouse products for every $5,000 spent. When matched in the right combination, the miniatures could be redeemed for a range of prizes. Designed to onboard new leads and introduce unfamiliar products to customers, the promotion awarded 282 prizes valued at more than $150,000 to customers, and One Stop Warehouse saw a 30 per cent increase in sales over the promotion period.

The Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award will be announced with the rest of the winners on Tuesday 25 August.

The Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the clean energy industry over an extended time.

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