A new community solar farm
Farming the Sun has begun work on a possible new community solar farm, situated just outside the township of Uralla, in the NSW High Country.
This opportunity has come about with thanks to local solar innovators, Meralli Solar. While the Uralla project could be Meralli’s sixth solar farm, it could be the first where locals might be able to directly invest in the project ~ which is how we have come to be involved.
First Information Sessions
We are excited to report that the Development Application (DA) is almost ready for submission for the project. Meralli Solar is holding a series of community information sessions before the DA is submitted.
The sessions will be presented by Meralli Principals, David Mailler and Methuen Morgan and cover: what the potential solar farm will look like; how it will be built and the build time frame; the potential benefits and opportunities for the New England community; and answer questions from attendees.
Sessions will be held via videoconference to ensure COVID-19 health safety.
- Friday, 21 August at 12pm
- Wednesday, 26 August at 7pm
- Friday, 28 August at 12 midday
- Tuesday, 1 September at 12 midday
- Friday, 4 September at 12 midday
If you have questions but are unable to attend, please email email@example.com.
About Meralli Solar
Starfish and Meralli have been working at this project concept for a few years, but it is just now, that Meralli have secured an option to purchase some industrial land, that we can begin engaging with the community and stakeholders.
To date, Meralli’s projects have been co-funded by small numbers of mostly local investors, albeit with larger amounts invested. This model works very well for what are called ‘sophisticated’ and ‘wholesale’ investors. However, for this Uralla project, we want to also open up investment for a larger number of locals who could invest and be part-owners with a relatively small minimum investment amount.
We have established this partnership with Meralli particularly because their process is unique, and, in our view, very well suited to community solar farms due to their compact size, sensitive design, broad community benefits and value for money.
Meralli use a ‘PEG framing system’ which has an ultra-low profile. The solar farm stands only 80cm above the ground and can be easily screened with hedging and other plantings. It is safer and quicker to build, operate and maintain. The panels can be installed in tight formation, such that the proposed size of around 9MWDC would need only about 6 hectares of land.
A solar farm of this size will generate a similar amount of electricity to that used by a community the size of the township of Uralla.
Local procurement is prioritised for both construction and maintenance including labourers, trades, consumable suppliers, food and accommodation providers. Since the Meralli process does not require a large or specialised workforce, these are significant local opportunities, especially for the small rural communities that we are so passionate about!
All up, the gains from these innovations means that Meralli has been able to build grid competitive solarfarms without government or taxpayer support. This is great value for money.
While these information sessions are being held just before the DA is submitted, the project is still in its early stages. In addition to the DA, many other details are still being worked through including the electricity network connection and finalising the community investment structure.
We would welcome your interest in our updates as we work the project pathway.
You can sign up for project news here.
For enquiries, contact:
Adam Blakester | Executive Director | Starfish Initiatives
firstname.lastname@example.org | 0419 808 900