Eureka’s Future Workers Cooperative, the first Earthworker worker-owned factory – will manufacture and sell high quality solar hot water technology in Victoria’s coal-dominated Latrobe Valley. The cooperative will provide dignified and democratic employment in the region, whilst producing important energy-saving renewable energy technology.
After years of preparation and an impressive capital raising effort by community members of the Earthworker Cooperative – which saw the acquisition of manufacturing equipment and intellectual property from a long-standing reputable manufacturer – we are now looking to finally set this first factory in the Latrobe Valley.
With the Victorian Government announcing dedicated funding to support the Latrobe Valley community through industrial transition, and with the region’s old power stations drawing towards the end of their lives, there has never been a better time to get Eureka’s Future established.
Sign our petition urging the State Government to install solar hot water systems into public housing in partnership with Earthworker – providing Eureka’s Future with work to get it up and running!
A new way? Co-operatives and collective markets
Eureka’s Future is based upon an innovative business model, following from a detailed feasibility study completed by Earthworker and partner organisations. The centrepiece of this business model draws on the strength of collective organising and the trade union movement to support a collective market for solar hot water systems. Additionally, through partnering with the credit union BankAustralia (formerly BankMECU), low interest loans will be available to support households get solar hot water.
Our Solar Hot Water Systems will be distributed in a number of different ways as part of our multi-pronged model:
- Individual web/phone sales
Households, individuals, families and business are able to purchase our solar hot water systems via our website or over the phone – reducing their power bills and supporting Australian manufacturing.
Sign-up for updates on our new product range (to be released soon!).
- The collective market – workplace agreements
This part of our model is one of the things that makes Earthworker and Eureka’s Future unique and strong. Earthworker is organising a new form of market involving the agreements which unions and employers negotiate (EBAs – enterprise bargaining agreements).
With an Earthworker Clause in their agreement, as part of the workers’ wage increase they can choose to order solar hot water – converting their wage increase into savings in their energy bill continuing into the future. Our data demonstrates that this investment is better than just having extra money in your pocket because of the savings you make over time taking into account electricity and gas price increases
Combined with finance options from Bank Australia, this model provides unique access to solar hot water for working Australians and their families – allowing them to cut their households power costs and carbon emissions. It also facilitates a large collective market for Eureka’s Future products.
UPDATE – The Earthworker Clause has been locked in at two workplaces already – including Federation University (which now owns the old Monash Gippsland campus in the Latrobe Valley). Workers now have the option of choosing a solar hot water system as part of their negotiated wage increase! Get in touch to find out more.
- Social Procurement – installing Eureka’s Future solar hot water systems into public housing makes sense. It can reduce energy bills for low income tenants, reduce pollution, and support local employment in not-for-profit worker-cooperatives. Please sign our petition calling for this!
- Replacing old systems and supplying plumbing networks
Through agreements with our plumbing network. Eureka’s Future will manufacture Everlast’s Solar Ready water tank for supply into regional plumbing businesses. This means plumbers can now replace blown out hot water systems with locally-made Solar Ready tanks that facilitate the use of solar hot water, and will provide a steady flow of work for Eureka’s Future.
Earthworker’s unique Business Partnershipss
Eureka’s Future now has the machinery and intellectual property needed to manufacture the premium quality ‘Everlast’ Stainless Steel ‘Solar Ready’ hot water tanks. These top quality tanks can be used with a variety of solar hot water systems, including the Siddons BOLT-ON Solar Heat Pump.
Through Australian company, Siddons, we have permission to manufacture the BOLT-ON here in Australia. Siddons, like almost all other renewable energy companies, currently produces the BOLT-ON overseas. We intend to take on manufacturing components of the BOLT-ON right here in worker-owned factories.
Stay tuned for an exciting announcement about a partnership to manufacture 100% recyclable battery storage technology!
With your support, we can bring manufacturing jobs and skills back into our communities, and build the renewable energy technology we need to address the climate crisis.