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Power to the people

Nimbin is set to become Australia’s most sustainable community with the installation of a solar farm. Nimbin Neighbourhood Centre’s Natalie Meyer, one of the driving forces behind the project, is pictured with from left Paul O’Reilly, Adrian Winkler, and John Davis, from the Rainbow Power Company, Paul Le Bars and Lisa Lucken from the Nimbin Neighbourhood Information Centre.
Nimbin is set to become Australia’s most sustainable community with the installation of a solar farm. Nimbin Neighbourhood Centre’s Natalie Meyer, one of the driving forces behind the project, is pictured with from left Paul O’Reilly, Adrian Winkler, and John Davis, from the Rainbow Power Company, Paul Le Bars and Lisa Lucken from the Nimbin Neighbourhood Information Centre. CATHY ADAMS

NIMBIN is set to become Australia’s most sustainable village after a development application to build a solar farm was lodged with Lismore City Council yesterday.

The 45kW solar farm, promising to supply up to 75 per cent of the town’s power needs, will be installed on the rooftops of six community-owned buildings by the end of this year.

“It has been a massive effort from a lot of people in Nimbin,” Neighbourhood Information Centre team leader Natalie Meyer said.

“Nobody else is doing anything like this.”

The project was built on the town’s 30-year history of sustainability, Ms Meyer said.

“We didn’t have to sell this project to the community,” she said.

“It’s the community’s goal tobecome energy neutral and to drive a more positive profile.”

The solar farm, in conjunction with 55 grid interactive solar systems installed in the village in 2008 and hundreds of stand alone solar systemspowering homes not on the grid would make Nimbin the solar power capital of Australia, Ms Meyer said.

The community will continue to build its solar capacity and will look at the possibility of ‘solar share farming’ in the future.

The solar farm was paid for with a grant from the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relation’s Jobs Fund program, part of the stimulus package.

The solar farm will create three permanent jobs, three short-term jobs, one traineeship and five work experience placements.

The plans for the farm weredesigned by the Rainbow Power Company, the project was supported by at least eight community groups, andlegal advice was provided by the Environmental Defenders Office.

Development applications were lodged for each host site and will need to fit within heritage planning.


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