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Our Energy Sources | Enova Community Energy
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The Community-Owned Model

Community-owned solar gardens are for people who can’t have solar panels on their own roof and subscribe to a solar garden by purchasing a “plot”. In return, they receive the financial benefit of the electricity generated in the form of credits added to their electricity bill.

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The Social Benefit Model

In Enova's social benefit model, solar gardeners receive a "plot" at no cost. These solar gardens are entirely funded by donations and community partnerships.

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Solar Gardens were born in the USA – allowing those locked out of solar to subscribe to the Sun!

The idea of solar gardens originated in the small town of Ellensburg, Washington. The municipal utility there partnered with community groups back in 2006 to build a 36-kilowatt solar garden—an electric array that is owned by multiple subscribers and connected to the utility grid. Their subscribers were able to purchase a portion of the power produced by the array and receive a credit on their electric bill.

Solar gardens are supported across the USA and are proliferating across 40 states already. Laws have been established across many states including: California, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia. These laws help to streamline the process of connecting solar gardens to the grid because they mandate that utilities accommodate them.

Solar Gardens take off in Australia thanks to the collective effort of the Community Energy Sector

• Currently, more than one-third of Australian households are locked out of accessing rooftop solar – Solar gardens are a viable innovate solution that allows these households to take part in renewables
• It’s been a collective effort by the community energy sector to help establish solar gardens in Australia
• Community energy groups can and will continue to, take leadership roles in the design, development and ownership of solar gardens and there’s been huge volunteer work of community energy groups to date

Enova Community Energy involved from the start!

Enova has been part of a collective effort by the community energy sector to establish solar gardens in Australia and built on the work of the Social Access Solar Gardens project.

Led by the Institute for Sustainable Futures and the Community Power Agency and funded by the NSW Government and ARENA, this research was a collective effort to investigate the viability of solar gardens in Australia and the Enova-led the behind-the-meter model was a key case study from this project. Enova has helped pave the way for the further development of on-roof solar gardens in Australia to take off.

From this research, Enova was uniquely positioned to explore behind-the-meter "on-roof" systems. Most community energy groups are investigating in front of the meter "off roof" systems.

Solar for All calls to end the solar lock-out

Back in October 2019, Enova Community Energy was amongst a group of 20 community organisations which banded together with the Community Power Agency to launch a ' Solar for All' campaign - calling on state governments to end solar lock-out and give all Australians access to safe and affordable energy.

If you want to see more access to solar energy for all through support for solar gardens, please check out the campaign and get involved – the actions you can take are easy and they’re all outlined in the Solar For All campaign website.