Solar farm to share cost and profits

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CANBERRANS can now ‘get in on the ground floor’ of a new solar power station before it is built, for as little as $350.

SEE-Change project leader Lawrence McIntosh.
SEE-Change project leader Lawrence McIntosh.
The SolarShare farm plans to make money by generating power to feed back into the electricity grid, in the same way homeowners who install solar panels are paid for the power they generate.

Investors who buy in to the solar farm will own a share in the power it generates, which will be sold back to electricity providers or to the owner of the site, through contracts SolarShare hopes to negotiate.

Project leader Lawrence McIntosh says Canberra residents will be able to buy in to the solar farm for a minimum of $350, but he expects most people to invest between $1000 and $10,000.

“Our expected return or dividend will be at least as good as a fairly standard high interest savings account … but that will be finalised once we’ve finalised negotiations with a host site,” Mr McIntosh says.

ACT Energy Minister Simon Corbell will launch the solar farm at 10.30am next Thursday, May 30, at Lions Youth Haven in Kambah, but the organisation is yet to find a location for the “community-owned” array of solar panels or a company to build it.

“After it receives registrations from interested community members, SolarShare will negotiate with host sites and commercial solar project developers to select the best project opportunity for the farm,” a statement from SEE-Change says.

“Those who register will be the first invited to invest in the project. The project will then be opened for investment after SolarShare signs an MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] with a host site and solar farm development company to deliver the project.”

SolarShare is supported by the ACT Government through a Climate Change Grant from the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate.

“As our climate is changing, so is our society. SolarShare is part of a transition to an economy where communities have an important part to play in our energy choices” says Mr McIntosh. “We can all share in creating an energy supply which is both local and renewable.“

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