Over the last fortnight we have joined the Goulburn Community Energy Cooperative and invested $9,000 into the 1.2 mega-watt solar farm development. Located on the lands of the Gundungurra people on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales this will be the first community solar farm to include integrated battery storage that sells power back into the grid. Through this year’s CoPower participatory budget customer members allocated $17,500 to the Renewable Energy Fund as part of the Service Budget to improve our service and help-out customer members. Subsequently, customer members formed a working group which recommended that part of these funds go this exciting community project. This represents CoPower’s first direct investment in community scale renewable energy generation. The return from the investment provides scope for us to expand common ownership of new solar and wind energy projects across the country into the future.
The area around Goulburn is home to many new wind and solar energy projects; however, some have caused division among landowners in the community with a sentiment that they would only benefit their large corporate owners. Goulburn Community Energy Cooperative was started to shift this narrative and bring community members along on the renewable energy journey that the region’s geography offers. They chose a cooperative model for the 4,500-panel farm as it is the most democratic model with its one member, one vote principle. So, a shareholder with a $400 investment has the same amount of say as one with $10,000. The community renewable energy project will sell electricity back into the grid and provide a return to community investors over time. In addition, the cooperative hopes to generate revenue to support those experiencing energy poverty within the area.
Read more about this exciting community initiative by clicking here.