SolarShare in the Canberra times

Canberrans have invested more than $1 million into the a new community owned solar farm in Majura, according to the company building it.

In the lead up to its launch on Monday night, SolarShare chairman Nick Fejer said more was still needed to begin construction.

“Electricity is a very intangible thing … you plug a cord into a wall and it magically comes out,” Mr Fejer said.

“It makes it a lot more real to people when they can go out and say ‘Hey, this is the thing that’s generating my electricity’.”

Mr Fejer said while the company was still short of the more than $2.8 million target it needed to start construction, he was confident they could make it.

Construction of the one-megawatt site – enough to power 260 homes – is slated for the third-quarter of this year opposite Mount Majura Vineyard.

Local architect Robbie Gibson has already invested $5000 in the project, with plans to double that.

“The reason being if I put down that amount it would offset the power we would use in the household,” saidly Mr Gibson said.

The father of two girls, Nelly and Freya, Mr Gibson said he was trying to make the world a better place for his kids.

“[Freya] is always saying ‘I’m really worried about global warming’,” Mr Gibson said.

But he said he also wanted to take more control of his energy use: he’s been offsetting his energy use with GreenPower through his electricity retailer at an extra cost.

“The GreenPower thing, you don’t quite know where it’s going, it’s like recycling. With the solar farm, you can see it physically there,” Mr Gibson said.

“It’s just great to be a part of that.”

Mr Gibson said he had always helped build energy efficient homes but had not been able to do the same at home because of the shape of his roof and the shade.

His home is also zoned for redevelopment, meaning his house will be knocked down in a year; this way, he’ll be able to take his panels with him where he goes.

The same goes for Canberra renter Deborah Cleland, who has moved home three times in three years.

“You cannot invest [in solar panels] when you’re looking at 12 months in a place,” Ms Cleland said.

“As a renter you just don’t have the opportunity to put panels on the roofs that you’re living in so inevitably the electricity that you’re using is from dirty sources.”

“I don’t understand why its become partisan, it’s really clever technology that Australians have been innovating in for a long time.”

Read the full article is available on the Canberra times website.