September News Update

Like most Canberrans, we’re pretty excited that spring has finally arrived. During the winter chill we’ve been working hard to take some important steps towards our first solar project.

Partnership with Photon Energy
After evaluating several responses to our Greenfield Site tender request we’re pleased to announce our partnership with solar developer Photon Energy. Photon Energy have experience in building, financing and monitoring a wide range of both medium and large solar PV installations (so far they’ve completed around 60MW in total.)

With offices in Australia, Canada and Europe, Photon Energy have a global presence and a solid track record, and we look forward to working with them on developing and building community solar farms. 

Also our thanks goes out to the other companies who participated in this process. We received some really good submissions and it was hard to narrow it down to just one. 

Member Survey Results

Many of you took part in the recent survey organised by the University of Melbourne. The results are now in and there are some very interesting findings:

    •    Supporting renewable energy is the main reason members gave for wanting to invest
    •    SolarShare members are already doing their bit for the environment, with most of us composting, walking or riding to work, growing our own food, and trying to use water, gas and electricity efficiently
    •    Almost half of us already buy green energy
    •    For nearly half of our members, SolarShare is the only way they can invest directly in solar due to being renters, having inappropriate roofs etc.
    •    Most of you would like updates from SolarShare once a month with email the preferred means (many of you are also keen to hear more from us on social media and to come along to meetings and social events)

Clearly you are a passionate bunch who want to walk the talk! We’ll be using these results as a starting point for tracking the impact that SolarShare has. We’ll also be using the information you gave us to make sure we’re keeping you as up-to-date and involved as possible.

For those that want to see the full report (it’s a very interesting read), you can find it on our website here. Thanks again to all of you who participated as this kind of feedback is invaluable and can really help us improve.

SolarShare Profile: Lily Dempster
LilyLily joined us 8 months ago to help out with all matters legal. We asked her a few questions about her experience so far with us:

Q. What attracted you to volunteering with SolarShare?

A. I’m passionate about sustainability and addressing climate change. Volunteering with SolarShare was a great opportunity to learn more about solar power and community ownership in the renewable energy sector.

I also wanted to get involved because I see SolarShare as a promising social and environmental enterprise model that I hope other Australian local communities will be able to adopt when looking to set up their own solar farms.

Q. What kind of things do you do at SolarShare?

A. Using my background in law, I’ve been carrying out legal research and getting SolarShare’s disclosure document ready to lodge with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. I’ve also started to help out a bit with project planning and social media. 

Q. What aspect(s) of the work do you enjoy best?

A. The most rewarding thing so far about SolarShare has been the people I’ve gotten to meet. SolarShare’s team members are from diverse backgrounds with an impressive breadth and depth of expertise. I’ve loved the chance to work with them and learn from them. The experience has also made me feel very much a part of the Canberra community. I feel really proud to be involved in setting up the first community-owned solar power plant in the ACT, which will bring a range of social and environmental benefits to our community. 

What’s coming next
Now that we have a development partner, we expect to progress through the next steps relatively quickly. Once a site location is announced and all approvals are complete, we will be launching our first opportunity to invest, so watch this space and stay tuned!

Until next time,

The SolarShare team

PS. The Renewable Energy Target (RET) has been in the news a lot recently. A Government-appointed expert review of the RET is poised to release a new report soon and it’s widely anticipated that the results will be bad news for Australia’s renewable industry. Solar Citizens is running a new campaign to support the RET in Canberra, so if you’re passionate about renewables and want to take part, why not check it out.