February News

Welcome to 2015!

The beginning of this year appears to be marked by political upheaval across the country. In this somewhat volatile environment, the twin issues of clean energy and a changing climate seem to come up in this context time and time again. Luckily for us at SolarShare, we have a local Government that is very supportive of clean energy and has committed the ACT to a deep 90% renewable target by 2020.

As part of that commitment, the ACT Government recently launched the Community Solar Scheme that we wrote about last time. Effectively, it offers a feed-in tariff (FiT) rate to the successful Community Solar proposal of up to 20 cents per kilowatt-hour for 20 years, with the submissions now closing in early April 2015.

Our key focus for the past few months has been on completing a submission for this scheme, with particular emphasis on selecting the best site, continued efforts with community engagement and collaboration with some selected education and research partners.

If we are successful in our bid we expect to be able to open for investment around July-Aug.

After all, it’s been quite a while since we began this journey, and there’s still a way to go yet. Of course, if you haven’t signed up as a potential investor yet you can do so here

We are also excited to announce a new collaboration with The Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University.  We’ll be sharing data from our solar farm operations with researcher Nicholas Engerer and his team of students, where they’ll be using the data to create accurate real time predictions for solar output. You can read more about Nick’s research here.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to reach out to community councils and local groups. If you are a member of a Canberra organisation that would like a briefing on SolarShare then please send an email to hello@solarshare.com.au

Community Investor Profile – Chris Mount

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself?

A. I’m a Civil Engineer and have been working for the public service now for about 15 years.

Q. How did you hear about SolarShare?

A. I came across SolarShare a couple of years ago in a SEE-Change newsletter.

Q. What made you decide to sign up as an investor?

A. I’ve been interested in renewable energy for some years now, having put a 6.3KW solar system on my roof four or five years ago. Going to the Community Energy Congress in Canberra last year got me thinking more seriously about what I can do to make a difference. Investing in a solar farm seemed to tick the boxes for me in terms of achieving carbon neutrality and getting a financial return, as well as helping the project by being a contributor.

Q. Can you explain a bit more about being carbon neutral?

A. Despite the solar panels on our roof, and installing double-glazing around the house our household is still a net consumer of energy, and that’s before we even count the driving and our gas usage! One of my goals is to find a way to become truly carbon neutral as I’m concerned about climate change and what my kids futures will look like.

Until next time,

Steve and The SolarShare team