Grong Grong Community Solar Crowdfunder Cranks Up

Grong Grong Solar Farm

Psst! Ever wanted to own a stake in a solar farm? Here’s your chance – but DYOR (do your own research).

The proposed battery-ready Grong Grong Solar Farm project, to be situated 4 kilometres from the village of Grong Grong in the Riverina Region of New South Wales, is being developed by Komo Energy. As solar farms go, it’s not going to be a big ‘un – just 1.7MWdc/1.5MWac capacity and built on a 5-hectare site. Sub-5MW solar farms can be pretty attractive to developers as the red tape involved with getting them over the line is far less onerous.

It was originally intended work on the $4 million project would kick off in July 2022, with the clean power station operational in December this year. I’m not clear on the timelines now, but once up and running the solar farm will generate around 3,700,000 kWh of green electricity per annum and avoid 3,100 tonnes of emissions each year.

The project web site notes the facility will use 3,192 bifacial solar panels – this is a type of panel that not only harvests from the face of the module as with conventional solar panels, but also reflected light hitting the rear of it.

Grong Grong Buy-In Starts At $250

From a development approvals point of view, Grong Grong Solar Farm is ready to rock and Komo is now looking for more community investment.

Retail equity investments start at $250, with a limit of $10,000; but there are no limits on sophisticated or wholesale investments. According to Komo Energy Director Jonathan Prendergast, 100 expressions of interest were registered in the first 24 hours after the crowdfunding campaign kicked off last week.

“Opening up investment directly into Grong Grong Solar Farms allows everyday Australians to make their own judgement whether to back the company and project it is developing,” said Komo Energy. “Grong Grong Solar Farm is at finance stage, with planning and grid modelling approvals in place, nearing shovel readiness.”

According to the firm, this is Australia’s first community crowd-equity invested solar farm.

Grong Grong And The Haystacks Solar Garden

Back in 2020 we mentioned Sydney’s Inner West Council was promoting an initiative whereby residents locked out of solar energy savings could access them through a proposed solar farm.  This was called the Haystacks Solar Garden initiative. The idea is residents can buy 3kW plots at Haystacks, with the electricity generated from their share appearing as credits on these “solar gardeners'” electricity bills.

That project and Grong Grong Solar Farm are one and the same; just an added financing strategy has been launched with the crowdfunder. While investors won’t get on-bill credits, they will receive distribution of whatever profits are generated.

Komo Energy is also aiming to establish other contracts to sell power into the NSW wholesale electricity market.

You can find out more about the Grong Grong Solar Farm crowdfunder here. And as the page advises, always consider the general CSF risk warning and offer document carefully before investing.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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