Australian Radio Towers owner Andrew Price hopes to secure a major sponsor for his town's solar vision.
Australian Radio Towers owner Andrew Price hopes to secure a major sponsor for his town's solar vision. Liana Turner

Town switches to sun power in solar panel lottery

SOLAR sweepstakes will be used to switch Northern Rivers town Tyalgum to total renewable energy reliance over the coming years.

Australian Radio Towers owner Andrew Price is overseeing the project and wants the world's biggest electric car company on board.

"We have started talking to the businesses in town to get an agreement to install solar on the businesses," he said.

"The idea is that for five years (exact time yet to be confirmed) 50% of the savings from the business's quarterly electricity bills will be put into a community fund that will be used as a lottery of sorts.

"Once the business savings each quarter have been collected, houses within the catchment area will be drawn out of a hat to receive a solar system from the fund."

If they agree to have a system installed, they will also pass on half of their energy cost savings to the community fund each quarter.

The process will continue for as long as it takes to get the whole town off the grid, with a new lottery each quarter.

The town's pub, former butter factory, general store and a local art gallery and cafe have already made the switch.

Mr Price said he was in talks with several suppliers about donating to the project and hoped to secure a major sponsor to give about 1000 solar panels to the cause.

"One of the companies we are talking to is Tesla," he said.

"These panels will then be offered to community members on a voluntary basis with no up-front charges but they will need to agree to pay 50% of the savings back to the project to continue to fund further implementation.

"These will not be grid feed systems, they will just be designed for behind the meter usage."

-APN NEWSDESK



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