Farming The Sun
Farming the Sun is Australia’s most diverse community solar energy initiative. It is a large-scale collaboration and coordinated by Starfish Initiatives. In 2011 Farming the Sun was awarded a NSW Government Green Globe Award for its contribution to sustainability.
Total installations through the collaboration have now surpassed 2.25MW of solar power, plus: Australia’s first community funded, Council solarfarms; solar hot water; solar thermal heating and cooling systems; training for more than three dozen tradespeople; 140 home sustainability assessments; and the provision of a massive level of community awareness and education in sustainable energy.
Farming the Sun’s success proves the power of partnerships and collaboration. Together with the project partners, significant step-changes have been achieved in the take-up of solar energy technologies, reduced greenhouse emissions and regional economic benefits.
Farming the Sun’s focus today is community bulk-buy programs of solar energy technologies for homes, farms and businesses.
See here for all the details.
This initiative began in 2008. A total of 600 installations have been completed to date, totaling more than $10m of solar technologies so far.
Solar Power Bulk-Buy Programs
The purpose of Farming the Sun’s solar power bulk-buys is to significantly increase the understanding, affordability and take-up of solar energy technologies by making available a discounted bulk offering of high quality, solar power and hot water systems.
As a community program, the focus first and foremost is education. We’re working to increase the understanding of energy issues and the sustainable options that are available to generate and use energy. By ‘sustainable’ we are talking about affordability and comfort as well as being environmentally sound.
Farming the Sun is currently coordinating four community solar bulk-buys:
- Hunter Central Coast solar power
- Northern Rivers solar power
- New England North West solar power
- New England North West solar hot water
Farming the Sun further contributes to long-term sustainability of these regions by setting aside “1% for Sustainability” ~ being 1% of the project income from each bulk-buy to fund future sustainability initiatives in each region.
Community Solar Farms
Lismore Community Solar is at the forefront of Australia’s nascent community energy movement and sector. It has created Australia’s first ever Council operated and community funded solarfarms.
The purpose of Lismore Community Solar was to create two 99kW solarfarms through a partnership between local community members and Lismore City Council ~ with funding provided by local community ‘impact’ investors and operation of the solarfarms by Lismore City Council.
Starfish coordinates the collaboration of specialist suppliers, partners and supporters who together make up the Farming the Sun collaboration.
Starfish has a wide range of responsibilities beyond coordination including project governance, research, communication, community education, partner and stakeholder relations.