IT’S AN idea to farm the sun and if Manilla residents get it off the ground, they’ll be the first in Australia.
A community meeting has been planned for the town today to try and gauge public interest in a solar power project to help drive down electricity prices.
Long-term Manilla local John Tucker is leading the charge to see if others will follow in town. “Everybody is looking at the cost of electricity at the moment,” he said.
“If as a corporate we can make it more viable for them, then maybe we can create a return for people.”
The proposal is to create a community-owned solar farm which would have solar panels across multiple sites for businesses with large electricity usage.
The Manilla project would be the first of its kind in Australia, but there are similar ventures operating in Europe and around the world.
“Being a country community we feel if we can do something together, it’ll be better for the rural environment,” Mr Tucker said.
“If people who come to the meeting can talk to their neighbours, then we could really start something.
“As a corporation we can tender to the electricity companies and negotiate a better price.”
Today organisers will be looking for like-minded locals interested in shifting to sustainable energy.
While there are costs involved, exactly how a solar farm would operate will be devised by local investors who sign up. “We feel that people could bound together to get it on the move,” Mr Tucker said.
“The thing we’re looking at is the power comes from the sun and it’s free so it can only snowball.”
The meeting is open to the public from 10am until 2pm at the Manilla CWA building.