Tagai State Secondary College multi-purpose centre solar lights

The gift of light helping young Thursday Island community play sports at night



Project Overview

Leadsun and SolarBuddy, alongside major sponsor Origin Energy Foundation, recently came together to supply and install SMART solar-powered LED lights at Tagai State Secondary College’s multi-purpose centre as the partnerships first Illuminating Communities initiative. The multi-purpose centre is used for a wide range of extra-curricular activities, including sports and performing arts.

Traditional Custodians

Kaurareg People

Left in the dark

When the sun sets in Australia, for most students the lights turn on and they proceed with their extra-curricular activities. However, on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, high school students at Tagai State Secondary College who want to play sports are left in the dark. Engagement in sporting, artistic and other extra-curricular activities are proven to have a positive impact on individual and community wellbeing. However, due to the Thursday Island community’s reliance on environmentally and financially unsustainable fuels for power generation, spaces where young people in the community can safely engage in productive extra-curricular activities is limited.

Energy poverty

Energy poverty is a global issue affecting 789 million people around the world. In Australia, half a million people live without safe and reliable access to electricity and predominantly affects remote Indigenous communities such as Thursday Island, where streets are completely dark after dusk, and opportunities to engage in sports are extremely limited.

The first of many initiatives

In December 2021, Leadsun Australia partnered with Australian charity SolarBuddy, to provide expertise, know-how and technologies. “We are incredibly excited to partner with Leadsun. Our focus on innovative, renewable solutions fits perfectly with Leadsun and their values of creating positive impact for their customers and the planet. We are collaborating on a number of exciting projects to support communities across Australia, and we can’t wait to share more about those projects soon”. Billie Murphy, General Manager SolarBuddy. 

Matt Pollard, Managing Director of Leadsun stated that “There are great synergies between Leadsun, Origin Energy Foundation and SolarBuddy, who provide mini solar-powered lights to young people in remote communities. We are so pleased to be involved in this initiative to help illuminate the community on Thursday Island.”

 Leadsun is proud of its partnership with SolarBuddy and is excited to continue utilising innovative, world-leading solar lighting technology as a means of elevating communities to reach their full potential.

Community impact

Thanks to the efforts of Leadsun, SolarBuddy and the Origin Energy Foundation, students at Tagai State Secondary College are now able to use the school’s multi-purpose centre for a variety of educational and extra-curricular activities. 

Gold Coast Basketball QBL Rollers Men Power Forward TJ MorseuDiop, who was a celebrity participant of the opening ceremony of the project, praised the development, reiterating that “from a social, educational and health perspective the benefits of sport and community are far reaching and can’t be underestimated. The ability for these kids and their families to have access to sporting facilities after dark – and with no financial or environmental cost to the community – will not only serve them well but it will also be a tremendous positive for the whole community.”

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which this project was undertaken, the Kaurareg People. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. 

"This new solar flood lighting for our multipurpose centre means everything for our kids. It means creating the opportunity for them to participate in after-school and cultural activities, activities outside of school and on the weekend, performing arts and other events. It really means a lot.”

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