CE4G's first project was to conduct a feasibility study into a 1 MW Community Solar Farm in Goulburn. The feasibility study is being undertaken in collaboration with local business Divall's Haulage, Infigen Energy Pty Ltd, the Australian Solar Council, and the Goulburn Mulwaree Council. Completed in April 2016, the study was funded by a community energy grant from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Between the time the project commenced and the final report, CE4G decided that, owing to improvements in technology over that 12 month period, a 1.2 MWp plant was feasible.
You can dowload a copy of the study here.
The study confirms that the community solar farm is:
PROGRESS TO DATE:
January 2018 - Well, after a break over Christmas we are well and truly back into it. Milestones since last post:
1. We have approval from Essential Energy to hook into the grid. This is a big plus and one that takes a lot of time and effort to finalise.
2. We have almost completed the design with the engineering companies contracted to complete the low and high voltage components. This should be finalised by February.
3. We are in discussions with three construction companies who are bidding to build the farm. We should be able to make a decision on the final plan and construction company by the middle of February.
4. We will be in position to sign an MOU regarding the lease of the site by the middle of February
5. A consultant has been approached to do the final financial assessment as soon as the design has been completed.
THE NEXT STEPS:
Once these steps are completed, CE4G will then finalise an Offer Information Statement and invite the community to invest in the construction stage. We will also be in a position to offer local customers the abiility to purchase their electricity from us, thus ensuring that as much revenue as possible stays in this community and allows us to progress to new renewable energy projects in our region. So stay tuned - we're nearly there!
Peter and Alex took part in a webinar late last year that was held to assist others to start their own community energy projects. Our solar farm was the main feature of the webinar, which was joined by people and community groups from other parts of NSW. It was organised by C4CE, the original group that started the move to community energy in Australia. You can watch the webinar here.
Other Examples of Community Energy Projects:
Hepburn Wind Farm (Vic)
REPower Shoalhaven (NSW)
UK - Isle of Eigg
Germany - Jühnde
USA - Ellensburg
Where is the proposed solar farm?
The community solar farm is proposed for a 2.5 ha site off Bridge St, between Sydney Rd and the railway line. The site is owned by Divall's Haulage. It is zoned B6 Enterprise Corridor and was previously used for residential and fuel storage purposes. It is currently vacant. You can see the site on our video.
There are approximately 4000 panels planned for the site. Clearing the site has already been undertaken:
A solar monitor has been installed on the site for measuring the amount of solar radiation available for the generation of electricity from the solar panels:
We’ve partnered with Energy Locals, one of the few retailers that support renewable energy and local communities to bring much needed relief to those ever increasing power bills. Energy Locals has one of the cheapest deals on electricity, and at the same time they’ve committed to keep some of the revenue in Goulburn to assist financing the development of the solar farm.
“They’ve got very competitive pricing, an easy system to switch retailers, and they're happy to return half of their profit margin to this community through our partnership,” said Ed Suttle, President of CE4G.
Energy Locals are listed on the Federal Government’s Energy Made Easy website as consistently the lowest price retailer for this area. And they have agreed to refund some of the revenue they earn from customers in this region to CE4G, who will use the money to further develop the community solar farm being planned on the Bridge St site.
“If we can help people get their power bills down, use renewable energy as much as possible, and at the same time keep some of the profits in the region, it’s a win for all of us. All you have to do is to use our code when you sign up,” he said.
Energy Locals have also been discussing witih us the option of buying the output from the solar farm once it’s built and distribute it to Goulburn residents. But in the meantime, homes and businesses can sign up to Energy Locals to get cheaper power right now, rather than having to wait for the solar farm to come on line.
“So here’s your chance to reduce your power bills and help the region at the same time. It’s easy to switch to Energy Locals, and it’s cheap compared to the other retailers,” said Ed.
The Solar Bulk Buy project is proceeding, but at a much slower pace than we envisioned, mostly because it was so successful, but also because the Tesla battery supply has been slow in coming, that too because of the unprecedented interest in solar and batteries.
While that's good news for renewables, it has meant longer than expected delays for some of our participants. However, installations are proceeding, and recently the first Tesla battery was installed at Peter and Jacki Waugh's home. (see picture).