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New community solar power guide released

Community-driven renewable energy projects are moving ahead in leaps and bounds, and the Coalition for Community Energy aims to give more aspiring projects a leg up with a new edition of its Small Scale Community Solar Guide.

It was written by the Community Power Agency in collaboration with Pingala, Starfish Initiatives, Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group, The Hub Foundation in Castlemaine, CORE NA, Repower Shoalhaven, Bendigo Sustainability Group and Environmental Justice Australia. Sustainability Victoria provided funding towards the initiative.

The guide steps those aspiring to develop a community solar model through seven case studies, including Pingala’s Young Henrys rooftop installation in Sydney, Lismore’s Community Council Partnership Model and Victoria’s Solar savers program.

It outlines how each project works, its financial and legal structure, and what type of initiative it is best suited to. There are also contact details for projects and other useful resources.

Co-author of the guide and Pingala co-founder Tom Nockolds said the projects were as diverse as the communities involved.

The pioneers of community energy in Australia had to learn what worked, and what didn’t by trial and error, he said.

“Now, the rest of Australia can benefit from their experience.”

The guide also outlines the steps required before deciding on a model, and highlights where undertaking energy-efficiency measures as a first step will be important for an initiative to succeed.

Mr Nockolds said the C4CE expects the sector to keep going from strength to strength.

“?Communities are fed up with all the politicking around energy in this country, and are just getting on and creating their own clean energy projects,” he said.

“They are learning from each other, and they are having an immediate, positive impact in their local areas.”

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