Enova Energy has been selected as the retailer of choice for the pioneering co-operative model Haystacks Solar Garden.
Using one megawatt of a 1.5 megawatt solar farm, the Haystacks Solar Garden will enable 333 solar gardeners - who currently are not able to install rooftop solar - to purchase a solar plot and receive a financial benefit from the solar generated, in the form of a credit on their electricity bill.
Enova CEO Felicity Stening said, “It’s so exciting to have been selected as retailer for this first-of-its-kind project! We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with Community Power Agency and Pingala to make the Haystacks Solar Garden happen.”
The announcement strengthens Enova’s positioning as a retailer which enables local energy resilience through its contributions to and support of community energy initiatives.
As the Haystacks energy retailer, Enova will distribute the solar credits generated by members’ solar plots.
For everyone who wants solar on their roof but can't because they're a renter, live in an apartment or don't have an appropriate sunny roof - this project provides a solution.
"We’re immensely proud to be pioneering a new way of doing solar that allows everyone to participate in the renewables revolution” said Kim Mallee from Community Power Agency.
“Haystacks Solar Garden is now accepting membership applications from anybody in NSW interested in becoming a solar gardener. Reserve your place in the queue to ensure you can purchase a plot in the solar garden when they become available.”
The Haystacks Solar Garden is supported by the NSW Government’s Regional Community Energy Fund.
Community energy partnerships creating solar gardens for Australia
Enova has long held the vision of a proliferation of solar gardens throughout Australia and launched Australia’s first small-scale solar garden in 2019 in partnership with North Coast Community Housing and COREM (Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby).
The Haystacks Solar Garden is the first of its kind in Australia.
“As the understanding of community energy grows amongst the many organisations and groups developing local energy initiatives across the country, so does our collective appreciation for the need for and value of community energy partnerships,” said Felicity.
“To create the change we want to see in the energy industry in Australia and to bring control of energy back into the hands of communities, we must collaborate and synthesise the solutions. Haystacks is a perfect example of the right organisations, people and resources coming together to build a new solution whose time has come in this country.
“For Enova this project demonstrates our commitment to community energy and to solar for all. It also shows the crucial role of a retailer in enabling distributed energy initiatives to come to life,” she said.
Innovative co-operative model
The Haystacks Solar Garden is a co-operative model. Co-op members will own the solar garden and be invited to purchase a solar plot to receive financial benefits from the solar generated.
According to Nigel Hancock at Pingala, “Rising energy costs, the need to decarbonise our economy and a desire to allow more people to participate in the renewables revolution are the driving factors for creating the Haystacks Solar Garden.
“We are creating a unique ownership model with the inception of this community-owned cooperative. Hundreds of people can purchase a plot and become solar gardeners, receiving a reduction on their electricity bill and ensuring the economic benefits of this solar project stay local.”
How to join
To become a solar gardener in the Haystacks Solar Garden, people must first become a Haystacks Co-op member and then purchase a solar plot when they become available. Plots will cost an estimated $4,000 - $4,200 and be 3kW in size.
Solar Gardeners must also be an Enova customer in order to receive the solar credits applied to their energy bill. By being a solar gardener, Co-op members can take their solar credits with them if they move house, provided they stay with Enova.
Want to get involved?
Haystacks Solar Garden has partnered with Enova Energy due to its passion and commitment to community renewable energy, excellent customer service and experience in delivering a small-scale solar garden already.
As part of the retail partnership with Enova Community Energy, Haystacks Solar Garden is seeking a Power Purchase Agreement with an offtaker interested in purchasing renewable energy from this highly ethical, sustainable and game changing project. Contact the Haystacks team to be placed on the invitation list for the EOI process.
Check out our Haystacks Webpage for more info about Enova's involvement in this ground-breaking project.