An historic building in Toowoomba is now harnessing the energy of the sun after AGL installed a 19.25 kilowatt solar energy system for the Sunrise Way drug and alcohol rehabilitation service.

The 114-year-old heritage-listed timber building was built for Sir Littleton Groom, who for many years was the most senior Queensland conservative politician in the early days of the Commonwealth Parliament.

The installation of 70 solar panels was completed in February under the first phase of AGL’s ‘Powering our Community’ program.

Under the initiative, AGL received nominations from local community groups including Sunrise Way to have rooftop solar panels installed, for a one-off cost of $1.

AGL encouraged applications from groups that embodied the value of ‘inclusive of all’ and focussed on social and economic inclusion.

The service is one of 14 organisations across NSW, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland that have received free solar panel installations from AGL.

CEO Louise Sanderson said the installation would help to reduce Sunrise Way’s electricity bill, especially during winter.

“We rely on government funding, client contributions and donations to meet our costs, so for us, this is huge,” Ms Sanderson said.

“It’s not just a short-term benefit but also a longer-term term benefit. The savings we make will be directed back into services.

“We feel very privileged when companies like AGL provide benefits like this for our community.”

AGL has strong links with Toowoomba and the broader Darling Downs area with the Coopers Gap windfarm under construction between Dalby and Kingaroy and set to open later this year.

“As the operator of the wind farm AGL is proud to say that many of the suppliers and contractors on the project are from the local community,” AGL Head of Construction Brian McEvoy said.

“Just as we have been supporting our customers during the coronavirus crisis and bushfires emergency prior to that, we are committed to supporting the communities in which we operate across the country.”

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