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    Community solar farm in the wind for Hobart


    September 19, 2022 - Kenji Sato

     

      RENTERS could buy a piece of Hobart’s renewable energy grid to offset their power bills under proposals for a community solar farm at the South Hobart tip.

      The plans involve a 4000-panel array at Hobart City Council’s McRobies Gully, which is due to be shut down as a landfill site in 2030.

      Hobartians would be able to buy a piece of the community solar farm, with the value of the generated energy going towards their power bills.

      The two-megawatt solar farm would generate enough electricity to power all the streetlights in the Hobart council area.

      The proposal is being pushed by Hobart councillor Bill Harvey, who said it would provide a way for eco-conscious renters to offset their carbon footprint.

      “The cost of living is impacting a wide variety of people, and if you can’t have solar panels on your own roof you could potentially buy into this solar farm as a co-op,” Mr Harvey said.

      “Hobart has an emissions profile of about 20,000 tonnes per year, so we need to look at all the options to offset those emissions, produce our own electricity, and feed it into the grid.” Mr Harvey said the project would cost about $2.5m, but the council would be eligible to apply for the newly announced federal community batteries grant.

      Hobart renter Harley Mills said he was keen to sign up to the solar farm co-op as soon as it came online.

      Mr Mills is a passionate environmentalist who does “food upcycling”, rescuing food waste to drive his carbon footprint to the absolute minimum.

      However, Mr Mills says that so far renewable energy has been off the table for him as a renter, which is why he is keen to join a solar co-op.

      “I would like to get my own place and, when I do, solar is the first thing that will be there, but for now I can’t tell my landlord what to do,” Mr Mills said. “The environment is my number one driving factor, but solar energy is something I haven’t been able to do yet.”

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