Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact
As we plan on giving the selected households 25% of the gross feed in tariff profit they will be getting $271.97 a year. Over the 20 year life of the scheme this amounts to $5,439.40 that they would not have otherwise got if it wasn’t for this scheme.
Also each year that these systems are installed 2.3 tonnes of carbon per a system will be stopped from entering the atmosphere. This figure is based on the National Greenhouse Accounts (NGA) figures, which are the official government figures used for accounting Australia’s Kyoto protocol responsibilities. Basically we assume that for every 1kWh of electricity produced by these systems we will directly offset 1kWh of electricity from the grid and that for the ACT 1kWh of electricity from the grid emits 1.07Kg of carbon.
Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing
Currently there is a need to mitigate man-made greenhouse gases as it’s contributing to climate change. Climate Change poses a real threat to the way we live our lives. If left unabated climate change may cause higher sea levels and increase the risk of extreme weather events. Our proposed solution addresses the root cause of climate change at the source by changing the participating household’s electricity supply from carbon intensive fossil fuel sources to renewable energy sources, thereby minimising their contribution to the release of greenhouse gases from electricity generation.
There’s also a real social need to lower the cost of living for the elderly in Australia and we assume around the world. In Australia 1 in 4 pensioners live in poverty (OECD, 2009). This scheme gives low-income seniors an extra income which can only help to improve their financial position.
Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?
I have changed my studies to undertake an honours degree; my thesis is examining the viability of the proposed scheme. The thesis contains a fully referenced report about the scheme, it also contains an economic model that can be used to determine how this project could work under different funding methods and cost structures.
If we win this grant we plan on using the funds to legally establish the organisation. This will then make it easier to obtain more funding from government agencies and foundations that only give funds to established organisations that are tax exempt. Hopefully we get the funds to undertake a pilot project. The pilot project will be used to check the accuracy of the business plan. Once the pilot project is completed we’ll review the business plan and alter it according to the results and lessons learnt. If the pilot project is successful then we’ll pursue more finance either from governments, foundations, charities or even private finance to scale the project. If successful in Australia then we plan on rolling this out to other countries with favourable sun radiation for solar electricity and good renewable energy incentives to ensure that it is economically viable.
Basically the model is as followed. We obtain funding, purchase a new system and then collect the income generated from the gross FIT. Once we can afford to pay for a new system we’ll go out and do it all again. As more systems are installed our funding base will continually expand. This leads to a situation where the time between purchasing a new system is reduced, hence our growth will be exponential
From a SWAT analysis we have identified a number of weaknesses. Our major problems include: lack of funding (not having the funds to scale), lack of technical legal and finance expertise. To overcome these we plan on obtaining advice from uni colleagues or the Research Institute for Sustainable Energy (RISE) which is linked to the Uni where I study. They are experts in renewable power systems and testing and so are the logical choice to seek advice about which systems are best for this application. Finance and business advice will come from either another NGO, pro bono, or if enough funds are obtained and no other options are forthcoming then we’ll hire professional help. As with most projects there are fixed costs that occur no matter how big or small a project is. If the scheme doesn’t reach a certain size then business costs will eat away at the profits and the scheme could ultimately fail. Therefore, we have to obtain sufficient funds to purchase enough systems so that our income offsets our costs.
Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible
By conducting a 1 year pilot project (needs to be a year so we know how the scheme will fair during the best and worst weather conditions for solar) we’ll be able to tell how accurate our forecasts of costs and revenue were. From here we can alter the plan and take a credible business plan and pilot project case study to various foundations and other finance bodies. Depending on the funding arrangements we’ll either have to pay back the funds over roughly a 15 year period, or if we obtain grants the income generated from the systems can be used to allow us to purchase more systems as we can afford them. In year two we’ll monitor reaction to the scheme and start investigating the feasibility of developing this scheme in different countries. In year 3 after a whole range of countries have been studied (more business cases) we’ll use some of the income generated to set the scheme up in the most promising locations. We'll also try to obtain local funding, all the while we'll continue to keep expanding our Australian operations.
If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?
Approximately 150 words left (1200 characters).