BEAM: Mitchell Environment Group will be hosting an Energy Futures Forum in Seymour on November 16 where a grand idea like this will be featured.
One of the key speakers will be David Robinson, from the group LIVE – Locals Into Victoria’s Environment.
The sharp decline in the cost in panels, as much as 80 percent cheaper in recent years, has made community-owned solar economically viable.
Already one million Australian households now have solar panels, and in Mitchell Shire at least 1500 households – almost ten percent – have panels on their rooves.
Many who are renters, or live in public housing, could not install on their own roof. So large rooftop systems offer more people the chance to participate in the shift to renewable energy.
”It would be a community place to put your solar,” Mr Robinson said. There are many models, but the predominant one sees locals investing small amounts – often around $1000 – in installing large solar arrays on community or commercial properties.
The power generated is then sold to the owners of the building, or to power distribution companies, with any profits shared among investors.
Part of the profits could also be used to support other community groups. Ten similar community-owned solar power projects are currently being proposed also in Victoria and NSW.
The Energy Futures Forum will have a range of speakers talking about future options including solar and wind power, how to reduce energy use and your household bills, and the risks we face if we don’t move to a renewable energy future.
“We need to transition from our dependence on limited fossil fuel reserves, to harnessing clean renewable energy”, BEAM President Richard Telford said. “It’s a great way to lower our impact on the environment, and reduce the severity of climate change”, he said.
The Energy Futures Forum is supported by Yes2Renewables and will be held at the VRI Hall in Seymour, 2-5pm on Saturday 16 November, with gold coin entry. Stay tuned for updates on speakers and more information.