You are currently viewing Customer story: How a local charity is saving money with solar and giving it right back

Customer story: How a local charity is saving money with solar and giving it right back

Every day, Western Downs Outreach Project (WDOP) delivers services to improve the lives of those living in poverty in the surrounding region. The Project provides counselling, advocacy support, food hampers and a soup kitchen. 

Impressively, WDOP is largely self-funded through their Containers for Change refund point, which gives cash to community members who recycle used drink containers. As a full recycling breakdown point, WDOP receives a handling fee from the program.

WDOP fulfills the dual purpose of helping those in need and helping the environment.

One area to target was their rising energy bill, so Project Director, Jason Vella reached out to The Saviour Group to investigate options for the facility.

The answer was to install a solar system that would enable the vast majority of their electricity to be powered by clean, free solar energy. The only catch – WDOP needed to find a way to pay for the equipment that didn’t eat into the organisation’s much-needed cash reserves.

Project snapshot


78 × 370W Phono Solar T Inverter
1 × Sungrow 28.86 kW

Payment plan term

5 years
Predicted the system will be cash flow positive within the first year of installation.

The solution

Through The Saviour Group, WDOP discovered Smart Ease and their payment plans.

As Jason put it, “we were in a situation where we had to look forward 12 months to make sure finances didn’t fall into a red zone.”

“The funds weren’t immediately available so… [without a payment plan] it would have meant using our Reserve Fund and we didn’t want to dive into that unnecessarily.”

WDOP rely on their Reserve Fund to be able to respond quickly to community need. If a situation such as a COVID lockdown were to arise, the Reserve Fund enables the organisation to fill the financial gap and deliver additional vital services.

A Smart Ease payment plan over five years was a perfect solution to mitigate the risk of cash flow issues and to keep the Reserve Fund intact.

After discussing their payment plan options with the Smart Ease team, Jason was impressed with the fast and painless process that happened entirely online. Unlike with banks, the payment plan application was completed and approved in only minutes.

As Jason puts it, “everything from both The Saviour Group and Smart Ease was very easy. No dramas whatsoever, no delays, no hiccups anywhere along the way. Everything went absolutely smoothly.”

quote mark 1
Everything…was very easy. No dramas whatsoever, no delays, no hiccups anywhere along the way.

The win

Western Downs Outreach Project is thrilled to say goodbye to significant energy bills and welcome a new solar system that will be a cash positive proposition. On a Smart Ease payment plan, the solar system will literally be paying for itself within months of installation.

Jason added, “Looking at it over the five years, we’re not going to be paying an excessive amount over what we would have been paying in electricity anyway. After the five years, we’ve got another 20 odd years of free energy from the sun!”

Smart Ease has been honoured to play just one part in helping Western Downs Outreach Project obtain what’s best for their non-profit.

Proudly, using the payment plan model to cover the cost of their solar equipment, WDOP have been able to conserve vital funds that can now be used to deliver services and food to the community.

They have also significantly reduced carbon emissions by powering operations almost entirely by the sun. As such they are living up to their environmental ethos and fulfilling their sustainability