Australia’s first completed community-owned solar farm is now a reality at Tathra on the NSW far South Coast, helping to power the Tathra treatment plant. The 30kW solar farm is an initiative of community climate action group Clean Energy for Eternity, Inc and consists of 120 panels of 250W capacity arranged to form the letters of IMAGINE. It is clearly visible from the air on the approach path to Merimbula airport.
The installation is expected to generate an average of 40 MWh annually over its 25 year lifetime.
“In 2006 over 3,000 Bega Valley residents formed an IMAGINE human sign on Tathra Beach.”
“Shortly after CEFE was formed and adopted its 50/50 by 2020 target as an aspiration for local communities like Tathra. That is, 50% reduction in energy consumption and 50% renewable by 2020.”
“A local solar farm was seen as key strategy for reaching that goal, along with solar bulk buy programs and putting solar PV on community buildings”
“We are proud of what we have achieved in our local area over the last eight years– over 30 surf clubs, RFS sheds and community buildings now equipped with solar PV.”
“And now, finally, we have our IMAGINE solar farm.”
Planning for the solar farm commenced in 2013 and was given a huge boost when Bega Valley Shire Council made a site available and matched the funds that CEFE had already raised to kick start the project.
BVSC’s Daniel Murphy and CEFE’s Prue Kelly were appointed Project Managers and a small team of volunteers got to work.
In just 12 months over $55,000 was raised, enough to construct the farm well ahead of the original 3-year expectation. As CEFE’s Prue Kelly explained:
“Some of the funding has come from a percentage of net proceeds of Tathra Mountain Bike Club’s annual Tathra Enduro Mountain Bike Race”
“But the bulk has come from individuals, families and businesses in Tathra, the Bega Valley and beyond who have donated $250 for ‘their’ panel. The concept attracted attention and the response has been overwhelming.
“I believe IMAGINE illustrates what a small grassroots organisation in a vibrant community can do, and will send out a very clear message to politicians: people want action on climate change and the future is Renewable Energy.”
You can find out more about the Tathra Community Solar Farm here
Check it out on Google Earth (not yet showing) Lat -36/42/53.47 Long 149/58/28.86
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