Win for energy “disenfrachised” as Orange community solar project goes ahead

A community solar and battery storage plant planned for the central western New South Wales city of Orange will go ahead with the backing of the state government, the project’s developers have said.

The Orange Community Renewable Energy Park, which will combine 5MWW of solar PV and a 5MWh battery energy storage system, was one of seven beneficiaries of grant funding from the NSW government’s Regional Community Energy Fund this week.

A statement from Energy Democracy, the cooperative that will own the completed Orange Community Renewable Energy Park, said the project was focused on assisting those who had been “disenfranchised” in Orange and the Central West region through an inability to install rooftop solar.

“The list of who can benefit is significant,” the statement said, “including SMEs, people living in heritage zones or treed areas, people in apartment buildings or living in rental accommodation, and anyone else who for any reason is unable to have solar on their roof.”

Alan Major, the managing diretor of Energy Democracy, said the co-op would also actively help members to understand how they were using energy, to help them to be more efficient.

“Energy savings can be traded for the benefit of the co-operative. The co-operative then decides how surpluses are to be distributed, in consultation with the members,” the statement said.

As reported on RenewEconomy last month, the Orange solar and battery project is being developed by ITP Renewables, around 6km north-west of the town centre of Orange, and will supply roughly 12GWh of electricity a year to the Essential Energy grid.

At that time, ITP Renewables had said it could not go into any further detail on the “community” aspect of project until it had agreement from all parties.

In its statement on Friday, Energy Democracy said that detailed information about joining the co-operative that will own the Orange Community Renewable Energy Park would become available in the weeks ahead. Those interest can register now at www.ed-co-op.com/new-south-wales/central-west-nsw/ and follow the link to the registration page.

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