Sakya Losal Choe Dzong

Tibetan Buddhist Society of Canberra

SLCD Goes Green

By Greg O'Rourke on 4th January 2015, 11:33

Virupa Retreat Centre's new solar panel system unveiled during New Year's Celebrations

It was a great to see so many of our community members at the New Years Day celebrations we held at Virupa Retreat Centre. The event was well attended and we also had as special guests representatives from the Bhutanese community, Yeshey Tsheten and family, who made some delicious sweet rice and traditional Bhutanese tea for the delicious shared meal that was contributed to by attendees.

Lama Choedak Rinpoche led prayers in the gompa, which was then followed by the unveiling and blessing of the new solar panel system that was recently installed at Virupa Retreat Centre, with speeches from Rinpoche, Sigi Werner who funded the project, and myself as coordinator of Virupa.


The power output from the 10kw system will meet the daytime power consumption needs of Virupa, which will reduce SLCD's carbon footprint and will also help to reduce costs of running the retreat centre.

Some of you may know that we applied for a grant from the Federal government last year to install solar panels at Virupa, however we weren't successful in our application. Luckily our karma has given us a second chance and we were approached a few months ago by Sigi Werner (partner of long term student Eva Steiner) who, following Eva's suggestion, was interested in donating funds for a solar panel system at the centre. We were overjoyed that this once again was a possibility, and we would like to thank Sigi for his generous donation and also for his work in helping to coordinate the project. A special thanks also to Mark and Andy from Captain Kilowatt who installed the system.


The solar system is ground mounted as there was a lot of shading from trees adjacent to the roof, and we obviously wanted to keep these beautiful trees standing. We were a bit concerned about the placement of the system as we needed to run a long trench to the meter box for the cables (the ground at Virupa as many of you know is quite hard and rocky) however we got the trench laid with no problems. Already the system is generating its peak output of 32 kilowatts and everything seems to be running without a hitch!

Being environmentally responsible can be considered a Buddhist practice, as it is a form of kindness to other beings and their environment. If we all make efforts to take more care of this delicate planet in which we live, we will reap this benefits of these positive actions and collectively all live happier, more peaceful and healthy lives. 


Seeing the solar system installed is a very hopeful symbol and we are very happy that we are contributing to a more environmentally responsible future. Once again, a very special thanks to everyone that attended the celebrations and we look forward to seeing you again soon!

- Greg O'Rourke

View more photos from the celebrations>>