Community solar “shining light” endorsed by John Hewson ahead of call for investors

Former Liberal leader John Hewson has thrown his weight behind plans to build a 1.8MW community solar and battery farm in the electorate of federal energy minister Angus Taylor, as the project’s developers issue a first-call for investors.

The solar farm is being built in the New South Wales Southern Tablelands regional city of Goulburn by not-for-profit group Community Energy 4 Goulburn (CE4G), with the aim of building a 1MW project co-owned by local residents for around $400 a share.

In August last year, the group secured a contract with local outfit Komo Energy for development services of the now-bigger solar farm and in March of this year, won a $2.1 million grant from the state government to add 400kwW/800kWh battery storage.

In a statement on Sunday, CE4G said the battery storage would offer investors the added benefit of being able to sell the project’s stored solar electricity into the grid when prices were higher – enabling a higher return on investment.

“It’s a win-win. The project will bring clean, green dollars back to the Goulburn community, and will provide enough electricity to power around 500 homes which will be stored and fed back into the grid each day,” the statement said.

Hewson, who is a strong advocate of renewable energy and action against climate change, said the project was one of the leading examples of community solar in Australia and a “shining example” of what you can be done as a community.

“We have a moral responsibility apart from anything else to make this transition to renewable energy,” he said.

Earlier this month, the CE4G demonstrated its own dedication to the broader goal of emissions reduction after cutting ties with its inverter supplier, Siemens, over the latter’s support of the massive Adani coal mine in Queensland.

“We have been forced to redesign the project because we are simply not prepared to support a company that is deeply involved with the Adani mine,” said CE4G vice president, Ed Suttle, at the time.

And while that decision has caused a small delay to the project, Suttle said it was still on track to be completed and switched on in mid-2021.

According to the project website, CE4G is currently preparing a new website with all the information required to invest. In the meantime, those interested in doing so can register here. An information evening is also being held on October 21 at the Goulburn Worker’s Club – to attend, interested parties can register here.

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