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Solar energy

Social Access Solar Gardens

  • $240k

    ARENA Funding

  • $635k

    Total Project Value

  • Project basics

    ARENA Program

    Advancing renewables

    Lead Organisation

    University of Technology Sydney

    Start Date

    Jan 2018

    Project Partners

    NSW Government, Bendigo Sustainability Group, Blacktown Council, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Byron Shire Council, Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimbi (COREM), Community Power Agency, Energy Queensland, Enova Community, Energy Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Norton Rose Fullbright, Pingala, Powershop, Queensland Council of Social Services, Repower Shoalhaven, Shoalhaven Council, Swan Hill Shire Council

    Location

    New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria

    Status

    Current

Project Basics

ARENA Program

Advancing renewables

Lead Organisation

University of Technology Sydney

Start Date

Jan 2018

Project Partners

NSW Government, Bendigo Sustainability Group, Blacktown Council, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Byron Shire Council, Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimbi (COREM), Community Power Agency, Energy Queensland, Enova Community, Energy Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Norton Rose Fullbright, Pingala, Powershop, Queensland Council of Social Services, Repower Shoalhaven, Shoalhaven Council, Swan Hill Shire Council

Location

New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria

Status

Current

Summary

The Social Access Solar Gardens Project will prototype four of the first solar gardens projects in Australia in locations across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. The Project aims to enable solar gardens that will benefit the 30% of Australian consumers currently excluded from owning solar PV.

How the project works

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

The project has two major streams of work:

  1. Research; and
  2. Development of prototype social access solar gardens business models.

Area of innovation

Solar gardens are the fastest growing segment in the US solar industry, contributing 200MW of new photovoltaic capacity in 2016. However, in Australia solar gardens are not yet available.

Through the Social Access Solar Gardens project, the project partners aim to either:

  1. Develop between one and four pilot Solar Gardens that are de-risked and ready to implement and are underpinned by business models that are desirable to locked-out energy users, viable and feasible to implement; or
  2. Identify the specific barriers that would prevent the Social Access Solar Garden model from working, and identify potential solutions to overcome these barriers.

Benefit

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.

Social Access Solar Gardens are a type of Solar Gardens that specifically seek to enable locked out and the most vulnerable and low-income energy users to participate in solar.

More information

Contact information

Jay Rutovitz, Research Director

jay.rutovitz@uts.edu.au