There was a collective pride and shared energy amongst the group who met recently at an unremarkable block of industrial land in the NSW Southern Tablelands.
For many, it was the first visit to a site they've collectively invested millions of dollars in.
The neighbours and strangers were among the 300 soon-to-be owners of a first-of-its-kind community solar farm on the outskirts of Goulburn, pumping money both into the grid and into the region.
"I get quite emotional talking about it," the founding member of the Goulburn Community Energy Cooperative board, Ed Shuttle, said.
"It's just so amazing that these people trust us with the whole project."
The $4.5 million solar farm is finally moving forward fast after several slow years of campaigning, fundraising, delayed development applications and COVID-19.
Mostly Goulburn residents and a few from Canberra and surrounds have contributed between $600 and $100,000, matching a $2.3 million contribution from the NSW government.
Profit will be shared amongst members when the 1.4-megawatt farm starts generating energy next year, with a percentage donated to support Goulburn's most vulnerable community members through Anglicare.
Mr Shuttle said the collective renewable energy action from Goulburn, a lower socioeconomic community that generally votes Liberal, was a result of a noisy few who'd garnered widespread support.
"We started this eight years ago as a group of people in Goulburn who basically felt that at no level of government was there any move towards renewable energy of any worthwhile value," he said.
"So basically a bunch of people sitting around a kitchen table said 'Okay, we'll do it ourselves'."
Geoff Godrey, Sue Chang and Peter Tapp were some of the first to get involved.
Mr Tapp, a retired electrical engineer who once worked for energy providers across the country, said Australia lagged about 20 years behind other parts of the world.
His neighbour, Mr Godfrey, said while there was still plenty to iron out when it came to reaping the benefits of renewable energy, a solar farm trumped giving profits to oil companies and coal mines.
"I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool Greenie," he said. "And I'm not against coal mining or drilling for oil either.
"But even blind Freddie knows you're going to run out of both after a while. So why not do something now?"
The government funding agreement is until June 2023, giving the 4000+ panel solar farm and big battery project a set deadline for completion.
The trio agreed it was exciting to know they could drive past the block in a few months and point to a solar panel or 10 that belonged to them.
"We're a bit New South Welsh working class, so yeah, I didn't expect solar farms in Goulburn," Mr Godfrey said.
Soaring energy prices, a decrease in the value of the Australian dollar and the decision to purchase a bigger battery than first budgeted for have meant the co-operative is still seeking a small number of investors to cover its costs.
"We're in a very, very, sound position," treasurer Gretchen Alt-Cooper told members during their annual general meeting this week.
"We've got $140,000 left to raise, which is astonishing. We couldn't have done it without the community."
Jonathan Prendergast, co-founder of project developer Komo Energy, said supply into the grid had been slowed in NSW since it had run out of space for large projects to connect in places where the grid was strong enough to take them.
Mr Prendergast said the lull created a perfect opportunity for smaller projects to get off the ground and get operating quickly while market prices were high.
"While we wait for renewable energy zones to come online, particularly with Liddell Power Station closing next year and Eraring scheduled to close in 2025, that will mean sustained high prices and the need to have more generations supplying into the market," he said.
Mr Prendergast said the next step was getting a contractor onboard and ensuring the ground was prepared so they could install the inverter, panels and mounting system when they arrived.
"Then the big step is commissioning. So that's an engineering process with Essential Energy to ensure the solar and battery operates and supplies into the grid, as we've modelled and as we expect," he said.
Mr Prendergast said the community solar farm, similar to the 1.2-megawatt farm in Canberra, was one of the simplest ways normal people could get more renewables into the grid.
"There was an amazing moment at the first investor night where someone asked one of the people signing up, 'How did you hear about this project?' And they answered, 'You'd have to be deaf not to hear about this project over the last few years in Goulburn, everyone knows about it'.
"It just shows the amount of work this community has done to bring this project to life."
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