Enova Energy joins the innovative Haystacks Solar Garden as energy retail partner

solar, Enova Energy
Mick Tsikas/AAP

Enova Energy has been confirmed as the retailer of choice for the pioneering Haystacks Solar Garden. Located in the Riverina region but open to all residents of NSW to participate, the Solar Garden allows those currently ‘locked out’ of owning solar to share in the benefits of solar virtually. 

The 1MW Haystacks Solar Garden will be located on a farming property in Grong Grong NSW. It will create 3kW solar plots for over 300 member solar gardeners, who would not otherwise be able to install solar panels on their own home. By purchasing a solar plot members can receive the financial benefits as a credit on their Enova electricity bill. 

This announcement further strengthens Enova’s position as a retailer focused on enabling local energy resilience through its investments in community generated, stored and shared renewable energy. As the Haystacks retailer, Enova will distribute the benefits of the solar generated by members’ solar garden plots on their energy bills. 

According to Enova Energy CEO Felicity Stening, “For everyone who wants solar on their roof but can’t because they’re a renter, live in an apartment or don’t have an appropriate sunny roof–this project provides a solution.” 

Enova has long held the vision of a proliferation of solar gardens throughout Australia and launched Australia’s first small-scale solar garden in 2019 in partnership with North Coast Community Housing and COREM (Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby).   

While the Haystacks Solar Garden is the first of its kind in Australia, many European countries and America have adopted the model at scale.  

“As the understanding of community energy grows amongst the many organisations and groups developing local energy initiatives across the country, so does our collective appreciation for the need for and value of community energy partnerships,” Felicity said.

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“To create the change we want to see in the energy industry in Australia and to bring control of energy back into the hands of communities, we must collaborate and synthesise the solutions. Haystacks is a perfect example of the right organisations, people and resources coming together to build a new solution whose time has come in this country 

“For Enova this project demonstrates our commitment to community energy and to solar for all.  

It also shows the crucial role of an electricity retailer in enabling distributed energy initiatives to come to life,” she said. 

The Haystacks Solar Garden is a co-operative model project, formed in a partnership between Community Power Agency, Australia’s experts in community-led energy projects, community renewables group Pingala, and solar developer Komo Energy. Enova Energy is the most recent partner to come on board. 

According to Nigel Hancock at Pingala, “Rising energy costs, the need to decarbonise our economy and a desire to allow more people to participate in the renewables revolution are the driving factors for creating the Haystacks Solar Garden. 

“We are creating a unique ownership model with the inception of this community-owned cooperative. Hundreds of NSW residents can purchase a plot and become solar gardeners, receiving a reduction on their electricity bill and ensuring the economic benefits of this solar project stay with its members.” 

To become a solar gardener in the Haystacks Solar Garden, the first step is to become a Haystacks Co-op member. Then to once the prospectus is available, members can purchase a plot in the Solar Garden. Plots will cost between $4,000 – $4,200 and are 3kW in size.  

Solar Gardeners then need to sign up as an Enova customer, if they are not already customers, in order to receive the solar credits applied to their energy bill. By being a solar gardener, Haystacks members can take their solar credits with them if they move house, provided they stay with our participating electricity retailer Enova. 

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The Haystacks Solar Garden project is supported by the NSW Government’s Regional Community Energy Fund to help create the first Solar Garden in the Riverina. 

“After years of research and development in the solar garden space, we’re over the moon to now be accepting membership applications for Australia’s first large-scale solar garden!”  said Haystacks project manager, Kim Mallee, from the Community Power Agency.  

“For this first of its kind project we have 333 solar garden plots available for residents of NSW. We’ve already had over 100 membership applications so we are well on the way to making this project a reality!”  

Haystacks Solar Garden has partnered with Enova Energy due to its passion and commitment to community renewable energy, excellent customer service and its experience in solar gardens. 

As part of the retail partnership with Enova Community Energy, Haystacks Solar Garden is seeking a Power Purchase Agreement with an ‘offtaker’ interested in purchasing renewable energy from this highly ethical, sustainable and game-changing project. Contact the Haystacks team to be placed on the invitation list for the EOI process.  

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