NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy Ben Franklin today joined the Climate Council and Lismore City Council to launch a community-backed renewable energy system including the first floating solar array for NSW.

Officially switching on the floating system Mr Franklin congratulated Lismore City Council on its Farming the Sun community investment initiative which included $40,000 to Council through the NSW Government’s ‘Growing Community Energy’ program.

“The NSW Government’s ‘Growing Community Energy’ program funded pre-feasibility studies, community engagement, planning and other activities to create viable community-owned energy business models attractive to investors,” Mr Franklin said.


Member for Lismore Thomas George said this community/council infrastructure investment model was helping future-proof infrastructure for the region.

“It is setting a new precedent for how communities generate and utilise electricity at a local level,” Mr George said.

Lismore Council’s Mayor Isaac Smith said the concept is all about community and Council is proud to be leading the way and showing this unique model can work.

“The project also provides opportunity for local community members to invest and benefit from decentralised renewable energy generation regionally,” Mayor Smith said.

“Regardless of whether your motivations are environmental, financial, or both, these energy projects improve the reliability and stability within our shire of our electricity generation infrastructure.

“Both systems are installed in Lismore, with the floating system producing electricity using a 99-kilowatt advanced system built on overflow ponds at the local sewerage works covering around 12% of the plants total energy consumption.

“Combined with the second system installed on the roof of the aquatic centre, the new floating solar panels, will generate over 316 megawatt hours of power annually,” Mayor Smith said.

Mr Franklin said other projects within the area that also received ‘Growing Community Energy’ support included the Dorrigo small scale hydro feasibility study, Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby, New England Wind, Tyalgum Energy Project, The Nimbin and Northern Rivers Bioenergy projects,” Mr Franklin said.