SolarShare September news update

Spring has finally sprung here in Canberra, and I don’t know about you, but all of us here at SolarShare love this time of year and the positive vibe it seems to bring.

Flagship project update

In July we received our connection proposal from ActewAGL. This is a major step forward in the grid connection process and is the result of many months of work. The connection proposal means that we have been given final confirmation that the nearby power-lines have sufficient capacity to take the 1MW of power from our solar array.

As you might remember we have an application in the ACT Government’s community solar program. We’re having some conversations with the ACT Government regarding our proposal however there has not been a final outcome as yet. Stay tuned…

Investment Registrations

We’re currently at a whopping $2.8m worth of registrations from over 500 registered investors. We think this is a testament to just how much interest there is for community solar, so thank you for your amazing commitment!

We are just inches away from the total project value of $3.09m. Let’s show the Government there is no doubt that the Canberra community is committed to owning every last panel of the solar farm.

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In case you were wondering, we have a loan proposal from Bendigo Bank to cover any shortfall between community investment and the total project value (but our money is on us not needing to use this for even a single dollar!)

We are also working on a couple of additional projects at the moment, check out the interview with David Southgate below to learn more about what’s involved.

Sydney Renewable power company

Another exciting community solar project worth looking into, especially if you are in Sydney is the Sydney renewable power company. You may remember that (for our first project at least) we’re prioritising investment in SolarShare to Canberra residents first, so if you are from NSW it’s well worth checking out community solar in your local area. Sydney renewable power company are building around 600kW of community owned solar on a new development in Darling Harbour. If you’d like to be involved then head here.

Renewables for all

Some groups of people in the community find it harder to be involved in clean energy than others. If you are renting then spending lots of money improving the energy efficiency of your home doesn’t make sense if your lease might expire next year. If you are in an apartment how will you have solar panels?

The Community Power Agency and SolarShare are now working together on a “Renewables for All” project that aims to significantly increase access to new energy technologies such as Solar PV energy efficiency and maybe even battery storage to those that are currently not able to access them. We’ll be looking barriers to accessing clean energy upgrades to do with accessing finance as well as barriers to do with not owning a suitable property.

As part of this we’ll be facilitating a workshop in the coming months to try and decide the best initiatives for the ACT to help meet this goal. If you represent a group that faces these kinds of barriers when looking at clean energy upgrades then please send us an email, we’d love to hear from you.

Introducing Dave Southgate

Dave is always on the lookout for potential opportunities for us. We asked him a few questions about what he does and why:

What attracted you to volunteering with SolarShare?

I retired in 2012 after 30+ years in the public service and I was keen to be involved in a community organisation. I am passionate about taking action on climate change, and I love solar energy, so SolarShare was just what I was looking for. What aspect of the work do you enjoy best?

As someone new to the community solar game I get a lot out of learning about how the concept works. I am fascinated by the types of questions potential customers ask when we talk about installing possible new solar systems. Similarly I find it intriguing to go over a submission from a solar provider and see what type of equipment they propose to use and, of course, how much their systems cost.

We’ve seen you driving around in an electric car. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

I just love my EV – a Nissan Leaf. It is a great city car!! Apart from helping the environment by not buying petrol, my electric car, with its wonderful acceleration, is great to drive. Fuel costs are about one fifth of my previous relatively small petrol car. I have never run out of battery! If you want to know more you can download the book I have written on my EV experience:

Do you have anything else to add?

I am very excited about what is now going on with solar in the ACT. Through its wind and solar reverse auctions, the ACT Government is doing amazing work in making sure that we achieve the target of 90% of our electricity from renewables by 2020. Just in recent weeks rooftop solar in the ACT has leapt ahead. We’ve seen press announcements on a 600kW solar PV system to be installed at Amaroo school and on the installation of two 500kW systems – one at Canberra Hospital and the other at the new Ikea store next to Canberra Airport. These add to the 230kW rooftop PV system that is being installed at the Mint.

Thanks Dave!

Until next time,
Sunny regards from the SolarShare Team.