Parkes plans for Solar Communities Program21st Jun 2012
Joining together to buy something a little out of people's price range is hardly an alien concept - and that is exactly what the residents of Parkes in New South Wales are planning on doing.
Community solar power projects are becoming increasingly popular as a means of switching a whole area to renewable energy at a fraction of the cost.
The Parkes Solar Communities Program reaches out to residents within a 100km radius of the town, giving them access to affordable solar power systems for homes and businesses alike.
The whole thing will be co-ordinated by Parkes Shire Council, which will be responsible for the bulk purchase of solar panels, as well as liaising with residents and solar providers.
With any luck, the scheme should go ahead without too much difficulty - but first, home and business owners need to express their interest!
The clock is ticking however, as the closing date for expressions of interest is June 29.
Solar power is great for the environment on any scale - not to mention the financial benefits it can have.
Research from the Renewable Energy Certificate Agents Association (RECAA) recently found that solar is also responsible for lowering levels of electricity consumption across the country, bringing down the wholesale cost of energy in the process.
RECAA found that electricity consumption declined 3.2 per cent over the three years to 2011 - a trend that looks set to continue in the foreseeable future.
Both large and small scale installations have seen a rise in popularity over recent years, as people start to recognise the financial benefits of switching to renewables.
Parkes is not the only place to have considered a community solar program over recent years - if successful, it could encourage similar projects to crop up throughout Australia.
Posted by Mike Peacock