CANBERRA’S SEE-Change and Solarshare have launched a community solar energy toolkit to assist local residents reap financial rewards through developing and owning a community renewable energy project.
SEE-Change Executive Officer Jodie Pipkorn says the toolkit will provide resources and information to groups interested in developing and owning community solar energy projects.
“It includes guidance on getting started, establishing governance processes, finding a solar farm site, through to conducting tender processes,” Jodie said.
“Community renewable energy projects allow communities to reap a triple reward – they get to build local and social networks, they contribute to a more sustainable energy future, and investors benefit financially.”
The toolkit is based on the SolarShare project underway in the ACT. When completed, SolarShare will be Australia’s largest community-owned solar farm.
“This toolkit shares the lessons we’ve learnt through the SolarShare project and we hope it can help other communities to create their own renewable energy future.”
SolarShare Canberra’s project leader Lawrence McIntosh says that SolarShare has more than $2 million pledged through expressions of interest from over 360 community supporters to date.
“With ACT Government approval being sought for a proposed site, SolarShare is now calling for investors as it prepares for construction,” Lawrence said.
How does a community solar energy project like SolarShare work?
Firstly, members of the community register their interest in being involved in a community energy project. This provides the organising group an indication of the amount of investment that may occur.
Once the administration and other structures are in place, the next step is to invite members of the community to invest in the project.
Then once up and running, financial returns from the sale of solar energy produced by the community energy project are returned to the community investors.
The toolkit was developed by SolarShare and Canberra Clean Energy, an initiative of the community organisation SEE-Change (Society Economy Environment).