A community solar battery farm in Goulburn has been given $2.1 million from the NSW Government to help locals access and invest in cheaper power from a renewable energy source.
The community solar farm, run by the not-for-profit group Community Energy 4 Goulburn (CE4G), is hoping to co-own the project with Goulburn residents, with each share worth $400.
The funding allows CE4G to attach a battery component to the project, increasing the storage capacity of the solar farm and helping to stabilise the local energy grid, its president Ed Suttle said.
The community will benefit through the funding by having more control over their energy bills while transitioning to a more modern energy system, the Member for Goulburn, Wendy Tuckerman, said.
“This innovative renewable energy project enables low-income households and renters to access renewable energy so it is great news for the local community,” Ms Tuckerman said.
“Community energy projects are a great opportunity for people to come together and work towards achieving their clean energy goals whilst bringing economic benefits to their region.”
The project was first floated by CE4G in 2015 when a committee was established to apply for the NSW Government’s Community Energy Feasibility Grants Program.
The feasibility study, which was delivered in April 2016, found that the project was financially feasible and had the broad support of the Goulburn community, with the site sitting just 3 km from Goulburn’s town centre.
The Regional Community Energy Fund (RCEF), which issued the grant, provides money for community energy projects that benefit local communities.
Over $15 million was awarded to seven projects across the state through the first round of funding, which the NSW Government says will be used to attract an extra $36 million in private investment into the projects.
The RCEF is part of the broader Climate Change Fund which supports community energy projects across the state to provide reliable and affordable energy to regional NSW. The fund has been allocated $1.4 billion between 2017 and 2022.
The NSW Government is using the fund to help the state achieve its net-zero emissions by 2050 target.
More information about regional community energy projects and the climate change fund can be accessed through Energy NSW.