Campaign launched for first community solar thermal + storage plant

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NGO campaigns climate-minded people to invest in development of Australia’s first citizen-funded community solar thermal + storage plant.

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The not-for-profit group behind the campaigns that raised enough community funds to install two solar PV systems at a disability services centre in Bega, NSW, has turned its energy to another cause – to build Australia’s first citizen-funded and owned solar thermal plant with storage.

CORENA – or the Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia Incorporated – calls it the Big Win project (as compared with the “Quick Wins” mentioned above), and to fund it, has recently launched the 50,000 People Campaign.

The campaign, says CORENA, aims to connect the 50,000-odd people who regularly turn up at climate rallies and the like with the opportunity to invest in the solar thermal plant.

“The idea is that if 50,000 people chip in an average of $100 each, or set up smaller recurring contributions, we’d soon have the $5 million we need for Stage 1 of the project,” a CORENA spokesperson told RenewEconomy.

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According to the website, the stage 1 $5 million would be spent on initial planning, approvals, site acquisition, and construction of 0.5MW auxiliary power to provide on-site power during subsequent construction stages.

So far, the campaign seems to be resonating well, with most contributors over recent weeks taking up one funding option or the other and contributing just over $27,000 at publication (the amount is going up all the time).

We’ll keep you posted on the funding campaign’s progress.

As for Quick Win, CORENA says it is currently three-quarters of the way towards completing funding of its third project, with a fourth currently queued for funding after that.

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3 Comments
  1. john 5 years ago

    I would have thought that somewhere west of the Great Dividing Range would be more ideal then Bega which I seem to remember is on the east coast

    • JonathanMaddox 5 years ago

      The Bega project was a “quick win”, a PV installation which will supply power mostly for use inside the building it sits on, no different from the more than one million such solar PV installations on homes and schools around the country. Its successors, the next two quick win projects, are in South Australia at Gawler (already installed) and Victoria at Beechworth (almost funded). The solar thermal project is intended for Port Augusta, South Australia, but it’s a much larger scale idea, a “big win”, replacing the two obsolete coal-fired power stations in that town.

  2. Gyrogordini 5 years ago

    John, the Big Win will not be in Bega – Tulgeen Disability Services was CORENA’s first Quick Win, and we are in Bega. Our 7kW system has saved us purchasing nearly 11MWh of energy this year, and will have paid for itself in several more years. It is demonstrating what solar can do, and provides excellent data for planning more systems at Tulgeen.

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