A billionaire and his wife have pledged $12 million to a solar energy project that will help people in areas devastated by bushfires and storms.
Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife Annie Cannon-Brookes have partnered with Tesla and 5B to build 100 stand-alone solar and battery units in 100 days.
It’s hoped the Resilient Energy Collective will help people get back on their feet quickly as well as ensue that they will have access to electricity if another natural disaster strikes in the future.
At the moment, they’ve targeted areas in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia for the energy units.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Collective has already installed two units near Cobargo in NSW and one in Victoria’s East Gippsland.
It took just 48 hours to install one of the units in Cobargo, which is already operational, and now services a radio tower used by police, the NSW Rural Fire Service, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Eurobodalla Shire radio.
Mike Cannon-Brookes said: “In three weeks we’ve come together, found the technology, adapted it, put it on trucks and right now it’s operating, generating electricity.
“That’s what this collective is all about; getting the best tech and the best ingenuity together to solve a massive problem, in days, not months or years.”
“Everyone’s been highly cooperative in terms of rates. I would love it if we can get 100 units up in 100 days. It’s a matter of finding the sites and getting people engaged. We’ve proven we can do it now.”
Mike added that after seeing the ferocity of the latest bushfire season, Australia needs to be better prepared in the wake of a natural disaster.
“As a nation we’ve got to learn the lessons of this summer and invest in energy systems that help the planet, not hurt it,” he said.
“That are resilient, not brittle. That are fast and flexible, not slow and fixed. And most importantly that reduce bills.”
The solar units can reportedly deliver 8 kilowatt-hours to as many as 400 kW-hours per day and will cut electricity costs. The Collective is working with energy companies like Essential Energy, Endeavour Energy, AusNet and SA Power Networks to see if there is a way they can help with the rollout.
“This is a perfect solution to a massive problem. It will restore power faster. It’s renewable, reliable and clean,” Mike said.