You can own solar. Sunny Roof not required.

Buy a virtual plot in the Haystacks Solar Garden and have the energy it generates credited on your electricity bill.
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What is a Solar Garden?

“Solar gardens work by installing a central solar array, generally near a population centre. Energy customers can purchase panels in the central solar array. The electricity generated is then credited on the customer’s electricity bill.”

 

“With a solar garden, any electricity customer can participate in and benefit from solar energy. The solar panels may be located off-site, but the household receives a financial outcome on their bill, a bit like having solar on their own roof. “

 

“Solar gardens are the fastest growing segment in the US solar industry, contributing 200MW of new photovoltaic capacity in 2016.”

Source: Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS: Social Access Solar Gardens project page .

What is Pingala doing?

Pingala is at the centre of bringing this exciting new way of owning solar to Australia. Bringing a functioning solar garden into existence requires collaboration between a number of partners.

Community Power Agency and Komo Energy

Luckily, working collaboratively is in Pingala’s DNA. We’ve assembled the right partners to help us successfully navigate the financial and energy market regulations.

 

We have put in this hard work so that we can see a clear path ahead and have the tools for local communities to help locked-out households who would love to become the first solar gardens customers in Australia.

 

The Backstory

Back in 2016 Gemma, a farmer, and Tom, a community energy expert, met and found a shared passion of making renewables more affordable for everyone and enabling communities more control of our energy future.

Gemma offered part of her land in Grong Grong for a solar farm and Tom suggested starting an energy co-op so that lots of people could benefit through a solar garden. 

And after 3 years of further conversations, lots of planning and with a grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Community Energy Fund – Haystacks Solar Garden will come to fruition this year.

The Basics

A one-megawatt solar farm built at Grong Grong in the Riverina

A customer-owned solar co-operative is formed from Riverina locals

Partnering with Pingala, Community Power Agency and Komo Energy to join the solar farm and solar co-operative into the Haystacks Solar Garden

What happens next?

In February 2020 we signed the funding agreement with the NSW Government and we have begun the process of connecting with people in the Riverina area to get the project going.

Right now we are seeking expressions of interest to be involved in the forming of the co-operative that will own the Haystacks Solar Garden.

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    Need to know more?


Q: Why the name Haystacks?

This region of the Riverina has been known for its quality hay and majestic thatched haystacks for over a century.

Hay is the original source of fuel or energy grown and used by farmers and indeed any industry that relied on horses and bullocks for haulage and transport. It is a fitting name for a solar farm that is growing clean 21st century energy.

 


Q: How big is the solar farm? 

The solar farm in Grong Grong will be 1MW which is enough to power about 300 homes. That is why we are thinking to offer approximately 300 ‘virtual plots’ in the solar garden.


Q: How will the Haystacks Solar Garden work?

Anyone who can’t access solar can become a member of the Haystacks Solar Garden cooperative and purchase a ‘virtual plot’ of the solar garden. These ‘virtual plots’ generate electricity and provide a credit on the members’ electricity bill. This is what makes a Solar Garden so different.


Q: How much do the ‘virtual plots’ in the Haystacks Solar Garden cost?

The final details of how much each ‘virtual plot’ will cost are not available yet, but we expect it will be similar to a rooftop solar system. We plan to run a series of workshops so that community members can determine these details with us. 


Q: Do I have to change retailers to become a Solar Gardener?

In order to receive a credit on your bill, you will need to be a customer of a participating retailer. As Solar Gardens become more common, there will be more participating retailers to choose from. One of the benefits of the solar gardens model is that the credit generated from your ‘virtual plot’ of solar panels stays with you as long as you remain with a participating retailer – so if you move house you continue to receive credit.


Q: How much will it save me off my bill?

You will effectively be receiving a credit for the value of electricity  produced by your ‘virtual plot’ of the solar garden. The size of the ‘virtual plot’ and the final arrangement made with the participating retailer will determine how much each solar gardener will receive.

In partnership with

This project is supported by a grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Community Energy Fund The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the NSW Government. The NSW Government does not accept responsibility for any information or advice contained herein.