Shares set to be offered in pioneering Sydney community solar plant | RenewEconomy

Shares set to be offered in pioneering Sydney community solar plant

Shares in one of Australia’s first community solar projects – 500kW array at International Convention Centre Sydney – to be offered to public end 2015.

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Shares in one of Australia’s first community-funded solar projects – a 500kW installation at the new International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) – will soon be offered to the public, as part of a deal signed between the project’s developers, property giant Lend Lease and not-for-profit advisory group Embark.

The $1 million project was first unveiled in 2012, with the goal – relatively new to Australia– of being entirely owned by members of the local community, who would be able to purchase shares equivalent to around 1kW each, and obtain returns of around 5-7 per cent per annum.

Now, with construction on the Lend Lease-owned site well underway, a public offering of shares in what is now called the Sydney Renewable Power Company is slated to take place in late 2015; the target for first power generation is December 2016.

According to the Sydney Renewable website, a limited amount of shares will be offered in an unlisted public company, with the target return revised down to 4-5 per cent per annum.ICC_CockleBay_thumb_800-380x268

Revenues will mainly be based on output of panels over a 25 year contract, while secondary revenue will be generated through marketing renewable energy offsets or certificates.

Canadian Solar has also been announced as supplier and builder of the 520kW PV installation system, which once switched on will produce an estimated 5 per cent of the energy requirements for the new convention centre facilities.

Andy Cavanagh-Downs – a director of Embark energy and director of the Sydney Renewable Power Company – says the project aims to show that energy developments can happen in a ‘bottom up’, community-driven way, rather than a ‘top down’ way.

“We think that operating energy projects on a smaller scale provides a lot of benefits”, said Cavanagh-Downs in a statement on Tuesday.

“This scale means that energy projects can be distributed geographically and more readily able to use the untapped energy resources around us. An installation of this size is perfect for the community to rally around.

“Inviting the community to fund these projects also gives people an opportunity to invest in a way that balances their interests for a financial return with their desire to act responsibly and make a meaningful difference.”

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1 Comment
  1. Alex Rogers 6 years ago

    I love the idea of community solar, and this looks like a quality project (good off-taker, decent project developer, solar vendor etc). The Embark team are doing good things. But looking at it coldly as an investor, the yield at the bottom end of that spectrum (4%) is not a great return on the risk – for example, CBA shares are returning a yield of 4.5%, or 6.5% if you gross up for franking – before you think of capital growth. Feeling positively inclined towards renewable energy will only go so far towards persuading investors to part with their cash. Interested to see the prospectus when it is offered.

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