Farming the Sun’s purpose is to significantly increase the understanding, affordability and take-up of solar energy as a key strategy for regional sustainability.
This work is undertaken by a large-scale collaboration of many organisations [see Partners].
The collaboration is facilitated by, and under the legal auspices of, Starfish Initiatives. Starfish is responsible for the overall project governance and administration, which includes management of the various contractually engaged professional and technical services.
Starfish is one of very few organisations in the world which specialises in supporting and creating the changes required for genuine rural and regional sustainability.
The partners which have formed the collaboration have changed over time to be fit-for-purpose as the project has changed with different technologies (solar Pv, evacuated tube solar hot water, solar-thermal heating and cooling systems and now solarfarms); different scales (residential, farms, business); and, different locations (New England High Country, NSW North Coast and NSW Riverina).
The partners involved share a belief in the power of collaboration and its central importance to the great transition to sustainability. While there is a common and derogatory turn of phrase about working with lots of people as being like ‘herding cats’, Starfish sees itself as a professional cat herder!
Collaboration done well can be enormously powerful in aligning the efforts, abilities and resources of the many for a common purpose. It is also a very effective way to learn from each other and rapidly build meaningful capacity.
In addition, the partners share a belief in the importance and benefits of distributed and renewable technologies and systems ~ as is embodied in our initiatives such as the solarfarms and bulk-buys, and the use of innovative local finance models and partnerships.
These two core parts of our shared philosophy are far from new, however the purpose to which they are being applied is pioneering. While our own efforts inevitably build on those of the many who have come before us, we also see that our work is leading the way in the formation of Australia’s community energy movement and sector and the creation of our future system of energy.