Developers launch crowd-funding campaign to finance NSW solar farm


Komo Energy is now seeking expressions of interest from potential investors with the company aiming to fund the construction of the planned $4 million Grong Grong Solar Farm being developed on the outskirts of the township, about one hour west of Wagga Wagga in south western New South Wales (NSW).

The Grong Grong Solar Farm capital raise offering has been launched through the Birchal platform, with Komo Energy saying it’s the first time everyday Australians have been able to invest in building a solar farm using the crowd equity finance model.

Komo Energy co-founder Jonathan Prendergast said the investment model provides direct ownership to the community and the response to the capital raise offering has “already been incredible”.

“A reason we are testing crowd equity and retail investment in a solar farm is that large-scale solar and wind is very complex,” he said.

“This crowd equity model hopes to show that everyday Australians are keen to support investment in new renewable energy, adding an additional model of finance to continue momentum in the transition to renewables and emissions reductions.”

The Grong Grong Solar Farm is being developed on a four-hectare site on landowner Gemma Purcell’s grain and sheep property about 500 metres from the town.

Gemma Purcell with Jonathan Prendergast and Gerald Arends.

Image: Grong Grong Solar Farm

The 1.7MW solar farm, which has been designed battery ready, would have the capacity to power more than 700 households and reduce carbon emissions by 3,100 tonnes annually. The company intends to sell the clean energy generated on site to the NSW wholesale energy market and produce and sell Renewable Energy Certificates (LGCs) to the commercial market.

After three years in the planning and design stage, the developers said the project is now at finance stage and nearing shovel readiness, having secured an extendable 20-year land licence with Development Approval from the Narrandera Shire and procured an EPC contractor, and grid modelling approvals in place.

In February 2020, the project received a funding agreement for $1.3 million from the NSW Government Regional Community Energy Fund and is now aiming to raise the remaining approximately $750,000 needed to fund construction.

Grong Grong Solar Farm will also host the Haystacks Solar Garden, the first large-scale solar garden in Australia.

The Grong Grong Solar Farm will fit in with the existing farming operation.

Image: Grong Grong Solar Farm

Komo Energy co-founder Gerald Arends said Australia was the perfect environment for community-owned solar projects.

“Australians lead the world in rooftop solar, now we believe we can expand that interest into owning shares in community solar farms,” he said. “The models combine the efficiency of mid-scale solar farms in strategically selected locations with community investment, a funding model that is popular overseas.

“It’s a key part of our mission to develop an ecosystem of local contractors and consultants to assist in the delivery and maintenance of these solar farms, providing jobs and investment opportunities for the immediate community.”

The call for expressions of interest in the Grong Grong Solar Farm investment is now open, with the raise open for investment on 14 June 2022.

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