11th Dec 2014
A lot has happened since our last Farming the Sun news.
Our big news is that just last night, Lismore City Council voted in favour of proceeding with the final stage of work on what could become Australia’s very first council-community solarfarm.
The project ~ currently known as Lismore Community Solar ~ will comprise two 100kW solarfarms, situated at each of Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre and East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant.
Finance for the projects is to be sourced from local community investors, however their core purpose is to support the leadership, influence and capacity of the community to impact on changes towards a renewable and sustainable system of energy.
Over the last 18 months, Farming the Sun has had to re-focus and adapt as the so-called ‘solar coaster’ of Australian renewable energy policy continues to affect what models of community energy are viable. The current political and policy uncertainty surrounding the Australian Renewable Energy Target has constrained the size of feasible projects to be around 100kW.
This smaller project size has also necessitated a change of legal structure and financial model, to a simpler arrangement ~ using a loan rather than power-purchase arrangement ~ though importantly still funded by community investors.
The priority now for the Lismore projects is to secure additional funding for the cost of the final stages of work ~ and all going well this pre-construction work will be completed by mid 2015.
Last night, Lismore City Council also approved their 100% Renewable Energy Master Plan. All of the Farming the Sun partners and collaborators express their sincere gratitude to Council for their extraordinary leadership and commitment to renewable energy.