Thursday 30th May saw the North Coast public launch of Farming the Sun’s community solar farm project at Lismore in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. Around 70 people flocked to the Italo Club to hear about this initiative and to listen to an enthusiastic group of supporting speakers.
Mayor of Lismore City Council, Jenny Dowell, spoke about her council’s Community Strategic Plan, Imagine Lismore, and how well this community solar project fits with Lismore community’s leadership and innovation in energy sustainability. Lismore City Council has signed the first MoU with Farming the Sun in an agreement to have an analysis done on its Treatment Plant to assess feasibility for a community solar farm at that site.
Adam Blakester and Patrick Halliday, both from the Farming the Sun team, spoke about the community solar farm model, the widespread implied benefits, and the technical requirements and pricing structures involved in proposed solar farms.
The delightful and diminutive Josette Wunder from the Earth Welfare Foundation expressed her joy and excitement at being able to donate to assist with the start-up funding for seven of these community solar farm projects. Paul Cruickshank from NSW Office of Environment and Heritage explained why community energy was valuable for NSW government and officially announced funding to be put towards these solar farms.
General Manager of Lismore City Council, Gary Murphy, reiterated the Mayor’s enthusiasm for hosting a community solar farm and declared how well it fits with his aim to have Lismore City Council self-sufficient in energy within 10 years.
There was a very positive reception to this initiative amongst those attending the launch, with considerable media interest following the event.
A public launch in the Northern Inland region is expected to follow in the next month.