19.3 C
Byron Shire
May 22, 2024

Solar garden feasibility to be explored in Byron Shire

Latest News

Fatal crash near Coffs

Three people have been involved in a horrifying crash today, leaving two dead and one in critical condition, police said. 

Other News

Cartoon of the week – 22 May, 2024

The letters deadline for The Echo is noon Friday. Letters longer than 200 words may be cut. The publication of letters is at the discretion of the letters editor.

Brunswick 30 has been delivered to Brunswick Heads Boat Harbour

Following successful sea trials at Yamba the Brunswick 30 was delivered to Brunswick Heads Boat Harbour on Wednesday, May 15. 

What do young people want and what do they think needs to change?

The ‘Your Voice, Our Future’ survey has been launched and is asking young people to put forward their views on what is important to them. 

Local housing prices down over 20 per cent

The region has seen falling house prices, new data from CoreLogic suggests.

Cabarita Beach powers up with new EV fast charger

The future of sustainable transport is rolling into northern NSW with the opening of a new electric vehicle fast charging station at Cabarita on the weekend.

Stone & Wood wins at Australian International Beer Awards

Stone & Wood Brewing are proud to announce a big win at the Melbourne Royal Australian International Beer Awards held last night, with the brewery’s Big Pale Ale taking home the title of Champion Australian Beer. Big Pale Ale also took out the Best Australian Pale Ale category.

A community solar garden in the US. Photo Energy News Network

Aslan Shand

Byron Shire is one of five areas in Australia that has been selected to take part in a feasibility study to see if it could be a suitable location for a solar garden.

Solar gardens are a centralised solar array that offers consumers the opportunity to purchase or lease solar panels located at a central site with the electricity generated credited to the customer’s energy bill. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced funding for a feasibility study that could allow the third of Australians who rent, live in apartments or live in low-income housing to access the benefits of rooftop solar.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA is providing $240,000 to the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute of Sustainable Futures (ISF) to undertake a feasibility study on ‘solar gardens’, a popular concept in the United States and Europe that is yet to be introduced to Australia.

The $555,000 project brings together energy retailers, councils, community energy agencies, social welfare organisations and the NSW government to examine the viability of a solar garden in five potential locations – Blacktown in western Sydney, Swan Hill in northwest Victoria, Townsville in north Queensland, Shoalhaven and Byron Bay in New South Wales.

The study aims to consider both consumer demand and feasibility, and identify barriers to adoption.

Potential

Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson said, ‘This project has enormous potential for residents of the Byron Shire, particularly those who can’t afford to install solar panels, or where solar panels aren’t suitable, and it’s very exciting to be selected to be a part of this feasibility study.’

‘Local community energy group COREM is also involved in this study and together we will be investigating potential sites for this solar garden.’

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said initiatives such as this are an important step in giving the consumer more options when it comes to their energy bills.

‘Almost a third of Australians are unable to put solar on their roofs because they are renting, live in apartments or live in low-income housing. Solar gardens give consumers the benefits of rooftop solar, even if you don’t have a roof available to put it on,’ Mr Frischknecht said.

Enova’s model

Meanwhile energy retailer ENOVA Energy has been working on a groundbreaking solar garden project of its own, whereby solar panel(s) can be purchased to obtain credits on your electricity account. 

Enova’s model – and live project – is also part of the ARENA study along with Byron Shire Council and COREM.

‘Because we have actually advanced plans and are preparing to launch, whereas the other regions are still testing feasibility, we are being regarded as a comparative case study,’ said ENOVA’s chair, Alison Crook.

‘Researchers have been to Byron, and as part of the overall study, carried out focus groups with people to test reactions to the Enova solar garden concept. COREM is also working with us to assist us to find suitable rooftop sites.’

The locally based company says it is set to build a 99kW solar system and ‘sell’ the panels to customers who can’t have solar at home – for whatever reason.

It’s aimed at those who want their own solar panel, or entire solar system but can’t owing to renting, moving, shady sites or other reasons.

Enova also encourage businesses, clubs or community organisations with large energy bills and a reasonable-size rooftop to register with them.

‘Landlord with tenants who would like to add value to your rental proposition, and save your tenants money without adding to your costs can be included.’

For more info visit www.enovaenergy.com.au/solar-garden.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

NSW Gov’t promises to fast-track super battery storage

State government investment in major battery projects across NSW is to be increased and fast-tracked, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Penny Sharpe said on Wednesday.

NSW gov’t opens Tweed Valley Hospital

The NSW government is to officially open the $723.3 million Tweed Valley Hospital today after the transferral of patients to the new facility last week.

Fed gov’t doubles funds for local road repairs

Local governments across the state are to share in $1.2 billion worth of commonwealth funding for local roads over the next five years.

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Why are we so blasé about violent pornography?

Why is it a turn on to hurt us? Recent intersectional studies have shown that online misogyny and violent pornography are contributors to a sharp rise in domestic violence. In NSW alone, police attend 500 incidents every day. If there were 500 threats or incidents at banks, or to the government, we would be in a state of emergency. Instead we stop, shake our heads, we listen to good men in government speak empty words, make a few promises, and move on. If you’ve ever lived through violence, it’s pretty well what your abuser does after hitting you.