Australia’s first solar garden for renters launched


NSW residents are now able to buy a Haystacks Solar Garden ‘plot’ to receive an estimated $505 credit on their electricity bill annually, essentially affording renters and apartment dwellers a similar experience to having their own rooftop solar system.

The 1.5 MW solar system itself will be located on farm paddock in Grong Grong, one hour west of Wagga Wagga, in the mid-south of NSW.

The project has been many years in the making and has sought to import to Australia a community-owned solar model already common in Europe.

Kristy Walters (center) with Haystacks project proponents on site.

Photo: Haystacks Solar Garden

The aim now is to secure 333 solar ‘gardeners’ for each of the project’s plots, who will all be members of the Haystacks co-op. Once their $4200 one-off payment has been collected, the construction of the solar farm will begin.

With the help of partnering organisations, the co-op will build and own the solar project. Each member will then get the same return, in the form of a dollar amount off their electricity bill, from the sale of the energy generated on their plot into the grid.

Importantly, members do not pay for maintenance of the array. Instead, a small portion of the money generated from the solar energy sale goes towards upkeep of the solar garden.

The Haystack’s solar garden plots will be on sale until September 30 with the team behind the project holding information sessions throughout September.

“It’s an exciting model to be pioneering for Australia that other countries have been enjoying for years,” Haystacks Solar Garden Project Manager Kim Mallee said.

“With the Albanese Government committing to fund 85 solar gardens around the country we’ll see many more households given the chance to access solar.”

The project has been funded by the NSW government in association with Community Power Agency, Pingala, and Komo Energy, with support from several other organisations.

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