20140412 Tathra solar farm a shining light for community

TATHRA’S community solar farm has turned from imagination in to reality.(BDN 12/4/2014)

At the official launch on Saturday morning, Matthew Nott from Clean Energy for Eternity and Bega Valley Shire Council general manager Leanne Barnes signed a memorandum of understanding, sealing the deal for a large solar array to be installed at the Tathra Treatment Plant.

The solar panels will spell IMAGINE when seen from the air by passengers aboard flights into Merimbula.

When complete, the solar farm will produce up to 50kW and account for 50 per cent of the power needs of the sewage treatment plant, which the council said costs around $50,000 a year to run.

Panels for the IMAGINE solar array – each letter will comprise about 38 panels – can be purchased by individuals, businesses and community groups for $250 each.

Mr Nott was pleased to announce the “I” had already been sold only three weeks after their sale was publicised.

He expected a tender to go out at the end of May and construction to begin in July.

All being well – and if the panels continue selling to community members as quickly as they have been – the IMAGINE solar farm should be operational by the end of the year, but “certainly in time for next year’s Enduro”.

The community solar farm is a joint project between CEFE, BVSC, the Bega Aboriginal Lands Council and the Tathra Mountain Bike Club, which puts on the Enduro each year to raise money for renewable energy projects in the community.

There are now plans to consider similar solar power projects at each of the shire’s other three treatment plants in Bega, Merimbula and Eden.