Australian musicians launch solar investment platform


A two-week, 15-gig album tour in Australia makes about 28 tonnes of carbon emissions, which equals the amount an average households produces in a year. An international leg of the tour translates into far greater emissions. For Australian band Cloud Control, such consequences of touring are too dire to be ignored.

Going beyond carbon offsetting, the band’s keyboard player, Heidi Lenffer, has established a platform which will allow musicians to invest in solar projects across Australia and deliver deep emissions cuts. With a number of acts already on board including: Peking Duk, Regurgitator, Jack River, Vance Joy, Midnight Oil, Set Mo, The Rubens, Vallis Alps, Big Scary, The Jezabels, and Little May, the project is off to a good start.

The initiative, dubbed FEAT, or Future Energy Artists, was established through a partnership with superannuation fund Future Super and developer Impact Investment Group (IIG). It is officially launching tomorrow coinciding with the World Environment Day.

First investment

The first project FEAT will invest in is the 35 MW Brigalow Solar Farm near Toowoomba in southeast Queensland. The project grabbed headlines last month when its developer IIG successfully challenged the Queensland government’s solar installation regulation requiring licensed electrical workers to mount and fix unplugged solar panels.

The 35 MW Brigalow Solar Farm broke ground in January this year and is currently under construction. The project was developed by UK-based Eco Energy World. It was acquired by IIG in November for their Solar Asset Fund, which offers investors a portfolio of large-scale solar projects that sell electricity into Australia’s spot markets.

The project’s output is expected to secure an annual return target of 5% for artists. “It is exciting to own a piece of a solar farm,” Lenffer told the Guardian. “To do that collectively, we can leave a lasting, tangible infrastructure legacy and say: ‘We built that together’.”

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