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.
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.
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.
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.