Construction has begun on a new solar farm at Majura Valley that will be co-owned by around 500 members of the community.
The SolarShare Community Farm is expected to provide enough power to support around 250 Canberra homes, after more than 400 people raised over $2.4 million to finance the construction of the farm.
“Putting solar power in the control of our community allows more Canberrans than ever to reap the rewards of solar energy,” said ACT Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Shane Rattenbury.
“Renters and people who live in apartments have had difficulties in the past seeing the benefits of solar power in the same way that homeowners have. Our new community-owned solar farm is a great way for them to feel the same support.
“With a lower minimum spend overall, community initiatives like this are a terrific alternative for people when the upfront cost of rooftop solar is too high.”
SolarShare has engaged Epho Commercial Solar for the construction of the farm, their flagship project.
“Our climate is changing, as is our community, and we all have an important role to
play in creating sustainable energy,” said SolarShare chair, Nick Fejer.
“SolarShare is for anyone who wants to be part of the shift to a renewable energy economy. This includes people who previously had no access to solar power market such as renters or those without a roof suitable for solar panels.”
Members pay to own a share in the project and are paid an annual dividend under current arrangements. Fundraising was completed in 2019. Fejer said the farm, once operational, would contribute $400,000 per year to community investors and service providers.
Mr Rattenbury said opportunities would also be available for internships for students from the University of Canberra, CIT and ANU.
The solar farm is part of the 2012-16 Greens-Labor parliamentary agreement and will be supported by a 20-year feed-in tariff granted by the ACT Government. It is expected to be completed by early next year.