Aro Valley Community Centre Goes Solar

26 August 2014

Local start-up Aro Solar recently helped Aro Valley Community Centre make the switch to solar power.

Oliver ter Ellen and Miranda Voke of Aro Solar.

Oliver ter Ellen and Miranda Voke from Aro Solar

It’s the first venture for the Aro Solar team and the community centre is now also the first in New Zealand to be fully powered by renewable energy. Any power not used goes back into the grid and any savings will go to the play centre next door.

Aro Solar was one of the three teams to complete our Smart Energy Challenge, involving social entrepreneurs and community projects that help to reduce energy use and encourage clean energy. Teams used crowd-funding and the Council matched the amount each raised.

Miranda Voke, one of the Aro Solar team, says it was great to have the Smart Energy Challenge supporting their project.

“It gave us a real incentive to take the concept from being an idea to installation. The training and support offered by the challenge facilitators was amazing, and having to match the Council’s funding on PledgeMe gave us the boost to reach the funds we needed.

“The next step will be to work out how to expand the project to other suburbs and, potentially, to Auckland.”

Council Senior Policy Advisor Nigel Taptiklis says Aro Solar is a great example of how the Smart Energy Challenge can enhance Wellington.

“They are passionate about working with the community on solar projects with social, environmental and economic benefits. It’s awesome to see them come through the challenge and complete their first project.”

The other successful teams in the challenge were Solair, which plans to make space heaters available to low income households, schools, student flats or community buildings, and car share start-up shyft.