20131217 Tathra Solar Farm, IMAGINE the possibility

By Josh Bartlett BDN
Dec. 17, 2013, 9:28 a.m.

THE first community solar farm for the Bega Valley could soon become a reality in Tathra.

Clean Energy for Eternity (CEFE) has proposed the development idea to the Bega Valley Shire Council.

The IMAGINE solar farm as seen from the air.
The IMAGINE solar farm as seen from the air.

The development will be top of discussion at Wednesday’s council meeting.

3000 people on Tathra Beach in 2006
3000 people on Tathra Beach in 2006

CEFE’s solar farm team of founder Matthew Nott, secretary Prue Kelly, Derek Povel, David Neyel, John Seckold and Daniel Murphy made a private presentation to council on December 4.

The team has proposed the farm be constructed at the Tathra Sewage Treatment Plant on Andy Poole Drive.

CEFE has revealed it will donate $15,000 per year to the project to develop a community solar farm, with panels built in the shape of the word ‘Imagine’, which will be visible in the air.

CEFE will make an ongoing annual donation until the project’s completion, in addition to a contribution from the council’s water sewerage services budget.

The farm is expected to be completed within three years.

Discussions between CEFE and the council have revealed that energy generated by the farm will go towards offsetting power consumption at the site.

This is expected to result in significant financial savings for the council.

A recommendation will be made at Wednesday’s meeting that council supports the project?s development by signing the necessary documents.

Ms Kelly said the solar farm had been a “long-awaited project” for CEFE.

However, she said CEFE remained cautious until tomorrow’s meeting.

“We have very positive vibes and feelings about it,” Ms Kelly said.

“Council will consider this, but we expect a very positive response on Wednesday afternoon.”

Ms Kelly said CEFE proposed building the farm at the Tathra Sewage Treatment Plant for a few reasons.

“It’s a secure site and is beneficial to the community and council, who are supporters of CEFE.”

CEFE will source funds for the project from the annual Tathra Mountain Bike Enduro event.

If given the green light, Ms Kelly said CEFE hoped to see positive on-ground results announced by April, in time for the 2014 Tathra Enduro.