Community-Owned Solar Farm, Westmill Solar Cooperative, UK (Source: Wikipedia)

Launch of Northern Rivers Community-Owned Solar Farms

Interested businesses and community leaders are invited to attend the launch of an innovative new solar power project by Farming the Sun which aims to create Australia’s first community-owned solar farms.

Funding has been received from the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, The Earth Welfare Foundation and Starfish Enterprises to establish seven or more community-owned solar farms.

“Community-owned solar farms can provide more affordable electricity for medium-to-large sized local businesses and organisations,” said Project Director, Adam Blakester of Starfish Enterprises, “as well as environmental benefits, financial returns for local investors and significant community education.”

Many community-owned solar farms have been established overseas. Examples include Westmill Cooperative, UK (5MW) [pictured above], Poudre Valley REA Community Solar Farm, USA (115kW) and Ellensburg Community Renewable Park, USA (36kW).

“Prices of high quality solar power systems have reduced by more than half in the last five years,” said Patrick Halliday of Juno Energy, the local solar specialist partner for the project. “Solar energy is now price competitive with purchasing electricity off the grid making an innovative community-owned solar farm financially viable for sites which are able to use all of the power from an 80-100kW or bigger solar farm. This would include medium-large business, councils, aged-care providers and other organisations.”

“Businesses and community members taking leadership and responsibility is key to the shift to sustainability,” added Josette Wunder, Trustee of The Earth Welfare Foundation. “Community renewable energy projects like this are exemplars for how we can learn, work and invest together to achieve a more sustainable community and environment.”

The launch is being held at the Italo Club, Barrow Lane, Lismore North on Thursday 30 May, 5:30-6:30pm. A complimentary drink and finger food will be provided. To RSVP contact Adam Blakester on or 0419 808 900.

The launch has been timed to coincide with the third North Coast Energy Forum, which is being held on Friday 31 May also at the Italo Club.

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  1. […] plans revealed this week are the launch of a community solar network Farming the Sun in the northern Rivers region, to be followed soon by […]

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