Info Day – New direction for Solar Project


Manilla Community Renewable inc. has entered into a  partnership with  Energy Locals.

This allows our group to become an energy retailer and build a renewable energy company in Manilla that links both the customer and the investor.

The first step is to have electricity customers. When we have strong community support, we will work with Energy locals and Solar Manufacturers YingLi to create the community owned solar farm. Energy Locals will give 50% of the profits to Manilla Community Renewable Energy Inc. to support the solar farm project.

We are encouraging all members of the Manilla Community to attend our info day and to bring along their electricity bill to compare what they are currently paying with Energy Local’s rates

Energy Locals is sending their Community Partnerships Coordinator, Angela Johnstone to speak with us on the 15th. Angela spent a year completing year 8 in Manilla, so she is familiar with our town.

Energy Locals is working with a reputable Solar Panel Manufacturer – Yingli – the General Manager of Yingli – Mark Kibby will be attending the information day to meet the community and see how this project can work.

Both Angela and Mark are coming to Manilla to meet our community and answer any questions you may have, so please come along and be part of something great for our town.


Emma Stilts Manilla Community Renewable Energy Inc.
Angela Johnstone – Energy locals
Mark Kibby – Yingli

Place: Manilla Small Town Hall

Time: 12 noon Free BBQ, Tea and Coffee thanks for Manilla CWA.

Your opportunity to have your say about the Solar Farm project.
Lets come together and do something great for our community!

RSVP here 

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Feasibility study launched


Hon. Mark Speakman, Emma Stilts, Hon. Kevin anderson and Grant christopherson

Hon. Mark Speakman (Minister for Office of Environment & Heritage), Emma Stilts (MCRE) , Hon. Kevin Anderson (Member for Tamworth) and Grant Christopherson (Office of Environment & Heritage)

A major feasibility study exploring renewable energy for the North West has earmarked Manilla and Tamworth as prime locations for multi-million dollar environmental investment.

The $46K dollar study found that Manilla has the ideal business model and climactic conditions to develop a community funded solar farm and a biodigester for Tamworth – with its large chicken, abattoir and other major industry is an ideal location to house an anaerobic digester – a large environmental plant that converts otherwise harmful industrial waste into valuable energy, animal foods and bio-char..

Our group was honored to have Hon. Mark Speakman. Minister for Office for Environment and Heritage and our local member for Tamworth Hon. Kevin Anderson in attendance to officially launch the study. As well as Councillors Helen Tickle and Jim Maxwell from Tamworth Regional Council.

The feasibility study, backed by Tamworth Regional Council, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, local MP Kevin Anderson and is the vision of Manilla Community Renewable Energy Company and Manilla Country Women’s Association and was funded by the NSW Government Office of Environment and Hertitage.

The study assessed a unique community owned solar farm for Manilla – a structure where the community is invited to invest in the project to raise the funds required to build it. When the farm is built, providing energy and making money, investors are rewarded financially and the community wins as well with cheaper power.

President of Manilla Renewable Community Energy Company, Emma Stilts says the success of the study paves the way solar partners and the community to become involved in the project.

“We now know this is a viable solar model where Manilla can benefit from cheaper power and investment. The funds made from this project will be significant and will come straight back to Manilla.

“Under this model local investors will pay for the purchase, installation, operation and maintenance of the solar farm. This means when the farm is operational, energy becomes a local business instead of an economic leakage.

“We’ll now start developing business partnerships with Manilla Renewable Community Energy Inc. and encourage community support and investment in the project,” said Ms Stilts.

Manilla Country Women’s Association President, Michelle Eggins says we have an opportunity to establish Manilla as model of sustainable regional development.
“Solar energy is tried, tested and dependable. With this clever planning we are looking beyond our lifetime and setting the stage for Manilla to be financially sound well into the future”, she said.

In Tamworth, Manilla Community Renewable Company will now source business partners establish one of the first anaerobic bio-digesters in regional NSW.
Using industrial waste, the plant, will have the ability to generate electricity, gas or heat, produce fertiliser, fish food or bio-char.

Ms Stilts said ‘The study shows that Tamworth’s major industrial sector produces more than enough waste from abattoirs, feedlots, intensive farming, human waste and other biodegradable products to establish an anaerobic bio-digester.
‘This project will require major investment and support from industry but would have far-reaching financial gains and massive environmental benefits,’ she said.

Both levels of government welcomed and encouraged the project saying there is a clear opportunity for agricultural waste to be put to better use.

In relation to local biohub opportunities – Agricultural residues such as straws, manures, effluents currently present us with waste disposal costs or undervalued residues.  The possible bio-chars and energy products that are possible through this project represent a market value of some $200-$300 per tonne – wheat itself is only fetching some $250 per tonne.

There is lasting and proven value in generating strong income from agricultural and forestry residues. If this were adopted across the whole Australian agriculture and forestry sector it could double gross agricultural output from the same acreage.

Work will start immediately in sourcing continued and new business partnerships and community support for these projects. Interested parties can contact Manilla Community Renewable Inc.


MCRE Crew – Michelle Eggins, Margaret Hurle, Emma Stilts and Robin Gunning

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Manilla members at Bingara

Professor Dr Peter Heck talking to Macre members Dennis Forrest, Robin Gunning and Emma Stilts, and to speaker Mark Glover, second from right.

Professor Dr Peter Heck talking to Macre members Dennis Forrest, Robin Gunning and Emma Stilts, and to speaker Mark Glover, second from right.

The vision of a community with little need for imported energy was presented to members of the Manilla Community Renewable Energy group in Bingara last week.

Gwydir Shire Council hosted a forum headed by German ecological engineer Professor Dr Peter Heck, who explained the working of his university which generates all its own energy needs and discards minimal waste.

He showed photographs of small German farms with bio-digesters to collect methane which can be used as a fuel or to generate electricity, or can be upgraded for use in vehicle engines.

Other speakers concentrated on the achievements of solar generation and the potential for using carbon as a soil conditioner.

Mark Glover of Renewed Carbon Co said that among woody weeds yielding a range of useful oils, cypress regrowth provides a chemical for termite-proofing.

Gwydir Shire is pursuing the development of what they call a circular economy, with minimal energy inputs from outside, and minimal money leaving the community.

Chair of the Manilla Community Renewable Energy Co. Emma Stilts said the information presented was absorbing and gave members a lot to think about.

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Manilla Wins Grant $46k for Community Energy Study


It is with great excitement we can announce that Manilla Community Renewable Energy inc. has been successful in achieving $46,000 in funding for a feasibility study thanks to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.  The funds are part of the Growing Community Energy scheme.

Our group will use the money to commission a feasibility study outlining how they can make the dream of a community owned solar farm and biodigester a reality.

The core component of the project is establishing a solar farm from which energy-intensive industries can purchase electricity. The concept was borne out of her desire to provide a reliable and cost-effective alternative to high-emission fossil fuels, such as coal and gas.

The residents, who are in the process of forming their own company, are hosting a meeting tomorrow for anyone interested in being part of the project.

Ms Stilts said locals could buy shares in the company, with the capital used to build the solar farm, and then receive a return on their investment.

“We’re hoping for a large turnout of people from Manilla, Tamworth and other areas in the region who are interested in getting involved in the renewable energy project,” she said.

Ms Stilts said the “missing link” in the fledgling scheme was securing a business partner, such as a dairy, chicken farm or water treatment plant, to purchase the electricity.

“There’s a lot of potential partners, and once this builds momentum the opportunities will become clearer to those businesses,” she said. “The feasibility study will work out how the economics of everything will work and how many investors we need.”

The meeting will take place at the Royal Hotel in Manilla from noon tomorrow.


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