More than 400 Canberra locals have banded together and raised more than $2.4 million to finance the construction of a community solar farm – the largest of its kind in Australia.
SolarShare recently signed a design and construction contract with Epho Commercial Solar to get the program moving.
SolarShare’s principal executive officer Lawrence McIntosh said the company needed a partner that understood the complexity of the project and would work with them through the challenges of a community solar farm.
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“Epho had been supporting our efforts for a couple of years, so the Epho team was the most compelling choice of solar company in terms of costs, results, and risks for the execution phase of our solar farm,” Mr McIntosh said.
Project financing is additionally supported by CWP renewables, as part of their commitments to ACT local economic development as a result of their successful Sapphire wind project.
On the partnership, CEO of CWP Renewables Jason Willoughby said, “CWP Renewables feels privileged in assisting SolarShare’s journey through project financing. We were able to fill a gap that was difficult for commercial banks to fund but was possible for CWP because of our industry expertise and commitment to the ACT”.
The project is a part of the ACT Government’s large-scale renewable energy program.
The farm is expected to be completed by early 2021, and is supported by the ACT Government’s Renewable Energy program.
Members pay to own a share in the project, with a minimum investment of $500. Under current arrangements, members are paid an annual dividend. Project fundraising was completed in 2019.
Once up and running the SolarShare farm will annually contribute over $400K back to community investors and service providers, and over 2.2GWh of energy into the grid, abating over 1800tons of C02.