Canberra is now home to the nation's largest community-owned solar farm, after it was officially switched on in a ceremony on Thursday.
The SolarShare solar farm, based out of Majura, will generate one megawatt of electricity and provide enough electricity to power about 250 homes in the ACT.
Several years in the making, the solar farm is co-owned by more than 550 Canberra investors, who have chipped in more than $2.4 million.
Members have had to pay a minimum of $500 to invest in the project, some paying as much as $100,000, and will receive an annual dividend based on their share.
While it may take a few months for investors to see any money back on their investment in the solar farm, SolarShare has said it's expected to yield a 5 per cent return.
SolarShare's principal executive officer Lawrence McIntosh said Thursday's opening represented a major milestone.
"As the largest community-owned solar farm, we hope that we can set an example for not only our community but around Australia," Mr McIntosh said.
"We built up our support over time, but it was particularly pleasing for us to have the response we had and the interest in the project from the inception."
Construction began on the solar farm in late 2020, after the project was first flagged as part of a parliamentary agreement between Labor and the Greens for the 2012-16 term.
The SolarShare farm will also receive feed-in-tariff subsidies from the ACT government for the next 20 years.
ACT Energy Minister Shane Rattenbury said the solar farm had been a long time in the making.
"This is certainly a landmark in the sense that this has not been done on this scale before...but I would like to think it won't be the last," Mr Rattenbury said.
"It's a fantastic program for people who want to invest in solar, like people who live in rental properties or places where they can't have solar energy but want to be part of the clean energy revolution.
"There has been a lot of community effort to get it going."
One of the more than 500 investors in the solar farm was Narabundah resident Andrew Thomson, who was at the opening the project along with his six-year-old son Owen. He said while he was late to sign on as one of the solar farm's investors, the project made a lot of environmental sense.
"We could see that there would be some big progress and we were confident that it would go ahead and would get a return on it," Mr Thomson said.
"Renewables are critical for the future and helping to prevent fossil fuel emissions.
"We also have solar panels on our house, so we're double dipping a bit, but you can always have more."
While long-range weather forecasts have predicted an increase in rainy conditions, SolarShare's chair Nicholas Fejer said modelling for the solar farm was based on conservative estimates.
"Either with cloudy day or La Nina conditions we'll be able to beat return on investment," he said. "We're here to make a renewable energy shift and the shift is probably the largest transition since railroads came in and there's huge potential."
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