LISMORE could be the home of the first community-owned solar farm in Australia after a memorandum of understanding was signed between Lismore City Council and the Farming the Sun project.
Funded by mum and dad investors, a solar farm producing upwards of 80-100kw, the equivalent of powering 30 homes or more, would be built.
Project Director Adam Blakester said the solar farm would be built from investments of between $2300 and $2800 for a 1kw share. Investors are anticipated to receive an annual return that is better than bank interest rates, or around 5-6%pa.
Once the capital is realised, Council would install an 80 to 100kW system at its East Lismore Treatment Plant and sign an agreement to buy the energy generated for the next 10 to 25 years.
Farming the Sun was developed by Starfish Enterprises and The Earth Welfare Foundation, using funding from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Mr Blakester said Farming the Sun had funding to establish seven community-owned solar farms across north-eastern NSW.
Businesses or organisations with solar farms would use electricity generated by the farm that would be sold cheaper than ‘black power’ electricity supplied from the grid.
“Lismore’s uptake of solar power is one of the highest in the state and Farming the Sun could be the model that enables large businesses and industry to follow suit,” Mr Blakester said.