Australia’s Largest CBD Solar Power Project is Open to Public Investments

Jon Capistrano
Jon Capistrano
November 15, 2016

The company that is responsible for Australia’s biggest CBD solar installation has invited public investment, thus making the first community renewables projects in Australia with a public sharing offering.

The Sydney Renewable Power Company’s 520kilowatt solar installation on top of the new International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour is equal to the size of 123 tennis courts and will generate enough electricity to power 100 homes every year.

Andy Cavanagh-Downs, the founding director of the project, said he believed it was the first volunteer-run, for-profit Australian company. He also said the company’s founders wanted to find a way indirectly involving the public in transitioning the economy away from traditional fossil fuels. He also said that change can be awkward to deal with and the more you involve people in the process and the more they are part of it, the faster and easier that change can come.

The group will sell 519 shares in the unlisted public company, raising almost $1.5 million to repay the loan that was used in financing the project. Most of the company’s profit comes from an agreement with the managers of the International Convention Centre, who will buy all the electricity produced by the installation. The Sydney Renewable Power Company will also sell the renewable energy certificates it gets through the federal renewable energy target.

Each of the shares costs $2,750 is equivalent to owning a 1 kilowatt of capacity. The company is also expecting to make investors a return by paying dividends of at least $35,000 after the first year. That figure should increase each year, since the power purchase agreement will include a price increase of 3% every year.

The company will also divide its capital every year and distributing it to investors, since its goal is to wind up after 25 years. The project also faces from different factors, including the potential of reduced solar output from bad weather or possibly new buildings nearby that will block sunlight.

Cavanagh-Downs said the Sydney Renewable Power Company had no immediate plans to raise capital for any further projects but the board was ardent to share their experiences with others who were interested in creating similar projects.

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Featured Image Credit: The Guardian

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