The roof of the South Melbourne Market building was recently renovated, and the LIVE Community Power project intends to attract investors to install 3,000 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof.
The LIVE Community Power project, part of a non-profit climate change initiative called LIVE, is to be Australian’s first large-scale community solar project, and it is to have an electricity generation capacity of 740 kW (740,000 watts).
The South Melbourne Market building is located in the Victorian state capital. The plan is for one thousand $1,000 AUD ($1,047) shares to be sold to investors.
This LIVE group hopes to attract people who have roofs unsuitable for solar, and who live in rented buildings. The local council is carrying out a feasibility study of the project.
The LIVE Community Power group hopes to complete the project by 2013 and apply this cooperative business model onto other roofs.
Community solar projects can benefit end-users by saving money when they buy and own the solar panels which they are using, because there is no for-profit organization to charge them additional money for the electricity in order to make a profit.
Normally, without community solar, renters who want solar would have to buy the electricity from a centralized solar power plant, which they’d really just be buying through the grid.
To top things off, community solar is large-scale compared to typical residential solar, and this enables it to benefit from economies of scale. The cost of solar really is heavily impacted by the way it is applied.
One should also factor in that buying and owning solar panels “fixes” your electricity cost, because buying solar panels is like buying 30 years of electricity in advance, so the cost of it cannot increase, and your electric bill would be immune to fossil-fuel price increases.
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