POWERING UP: Mike & Annie Cannon-Brookes are spending $12 million to bring a little sunshine to 100 bushfire-hit communities

- February 20, 2020 2 MIN READ
The Maverick solar panels being installed in Cobargo, NSW. Photo: Resilient Energy Collective
Fire-ravaged Australian communities struggling for power will have an solar energy solution thanks so Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife Annie.

The duo are investing up to $12 million in a venture called Resilient Energy Collective (REC), designed to rapidly deploy solar panels and Tesla batteries in communities that have lost power in natural disasters. The funds will enable up to 100 communities, many currently using diesel generators as temporary replacements for lost poles and wires, to be powered by the solar systems.

The offer of is open to any individual, household, business or community affected by disaster between 1 July 2019 and 1 July 2020, still struggling for reliable energy supplies. Interested parties can register here.

REC systems are already in place in Cobargo, NSW , where it was installed and operational within 48 hours, in a collaboration with Essential Energy to power radio towers for police, the RFS and National Parks. Another is now live in the Goongerah in East Gippsland to power the community hall, which is being used by residents for relief services, internet, refrigeration and community meetings.

The solar panels come in a pre-fabricated system known as Maverick, developed by Sydney tech startup 5B, which is supplying the system to Sun Cable the $22 billion Northern Territory proposal for a 10-gigawatt (GW) solar farm and 22GWh battery storage to supply Singapore, backed by Cannon-Brookes and fellow billionaire Andrew Forrest. They can last for up to 25 years and can be easily can be removed or relocated.

The REC systems can be temporary or a more permanent solution for remote communities. The organisation doesn’t bill for the power, partnering with local energy providers. The modular design means it can power everything from a household to an entire town, with the Tesla battery providing 24/7 power

Announcing the launch of Resilient Energy Collective, Mike Cannon-Brookes called it “a little something I’ve been working on with brilliant mates”, adding that it’s “an amazing Aussie story of resilience, ingenuity & action in the face of terrible circumstances”.

He’s hoping the 100 sites can be identified and installed in 100 days.