The NSW-based community renewables group behind six successful solar bulk-buy programs in the state has revealed it is investigating the feasibility of a new bulk-buy round, this time of solar and battery storage systems for the Northern Rivers region.
The new offer, led by Starfish initiatives associate Chris Harris, will be open to residents, businesses, councils and community organisations throughout the region.
As well as targeting first time solar installers, the program carters to those with existing solar systems who wish to add further capacity and possibly battery storage – and who are losing their premium rooftop solar feed-in tariff.
Farming the Sun said it would decide on whether or not to proceed with the bulk-buy subject to sufficient community interest.
But the group’s previous efforts have been well subscribed and highly successful, with the current bulk-buy in the New England region realising discounts of up to 33 per cent on for participants.
So far, the large-scale collaboration coordinated by Starfish Initiatives has resulted in the installation of more than $6.7 million worth of solar energy – an effort that has won it a Green Globe Award for contribution to sustainability and installation.
Locally, Farming the Sun has led the successful Lismore Community Solarfarmsinitiative, which is creating Australia’s first community-funded, council-operated solar farms in collaboration with Lismore City Council. One of the two 100kW solar farms will be the largest floating array yet installed in Australia.
Farming the Sun said it was also looking for a specialist solar partner for the newly proposed solar and storage round, and was seeking Expressions of Interest from local solar installers. Negotiations are also taking place with prospective community partners.
“Assuming there is sufficient interest from locally based solar installers and from residents and businesses in developing a community bulk buy, we anticipate that the program will launch sometime in late March or early April,” said Adam Blakester, Project Director.
“Without pre-empting any final decision on whether to proceed or not, any resident or business that is interested in expressing preliminary interest in the program is invited to express interest,” Blakester said.