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April 17, 2021

Lismore plans for community solar farm by year’s end

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Lismore council has invested heavily in fossil fuel free products such as solar, and now is considering a community solar farm. (File Pic)
Lismore council has invested heavily in fossil fuel free products such as solar, and now is considering a community solar farm. (File Pic)

Plans are underway to create the first council operated and community funded solar farm in Australia in Lismore by the end of this year.

The Lismore City Council has today announced a partnership with Farming the Sun, Australia’s largest community solar energy initiative, to build the solar farm.

A launch will be held next Thursday at the Lismore Workers Club in an effort to attract 40 investors who will buy shares in the solar farm.

The initial concept was to have a 250-450kW solar system owned by the community, with the council agreeing to buy back the power over a decade. However, obstacles such as difficulties with sharing power across council sites and the uncertainty of federal renewable energy policy has led to a change in thinking and in the enterprise model.

The investment structure is now based on a community loan, with Lismore Community Solar lending funds to Lismore City Council, which will use it to construct and operate two 100kW solar farms at the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre and the East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant.

Farming the Sun’s Adam Blakester said if there was ever a region that could build Australia’s first council/community solar farm and provide a model others could emulate, it was the northern rivers.

‘There is a groundswell of sustainability and renewable energy work right across the northern rivers region including one of the highest uptakes of residential solar power, the North Coast Energy Forum, Sustain Northern Rivers and Gasfield Free Northern Rivers,’ Mr Blakester said.

‘We are seeking up to 40 investors who see themselves taking on, or building on, a high profile leadership role in renewable energy and sustainability.

‘A handful of the investors will also be required to take on directorship roles for the community companies that we set up under the Lismore Community Solar banner.

‘We’re not asking investors to hand over any money just yet, but rather we need to identify those who are genuinely interested so that we can be confident that there is a solid pool of investors to draw on when the prospectus goes live.’

The launch will take place on Thursday, 11 June, with potential investors asked to ‘pledge’ in-principle support by registering interest for a share.

Investors can also pledge online at s http://farmingthesun.net/lismore/, get more information by emailing [email protected] or sign-up over the phone with Lismore Community Solar Coordinator Susanna Carpi on 0401 956 710.

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  1. Great news.
    Pity virtual net metering didn’t get approved to share energy across council sites.

    Next step community owned solar farm to supply residents and business.

    Perhaps Enova Community Energy retailer launching July will be able to help?

  2. Why are we building yet another centralised power station? They originally came about because power generation was difficult and coal was considered to be a good thing.

    We now have reliable and cheap small scale solar and countless roofs onto which we can bolt the solar panels.

    You can even finance the panels in the same way – it doesn’t teally matter where they are located ‘cos the sun shines everywhere!

  3. Love the concept and fully support the message. But why do we have people in this theme of photo wearing reflective vests? If that photo opportunity was in a dangerous place they shouldn’t be there. Love your work Anthony. Almost didn’t recognise you for the disguise.


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