Energy Democracy - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Central West NSW Co-operative

The Park will be built regardless of how much the Co-operative is able to raise in the time available. The project has been underwritten, meaning the underwriter will cover any shortfall in funds raised and increase its stake accordingly.

The electricity generated in the park is fed into the National Grid. Excess generation is also used to recharge the battery for later usage, or for solar energy to be sold when electricity prices are highest.

The average payback is estimated at 8.6 years for one parcel, providing a return on your investment of 8 – 12%*.

Yes, any member be they a household, small business or an investor can purchase more than one parcel. Multiple parcels of shares can be purchased for your SMSF, or for friends and family as an investment. There is one caveat – under the Co-operative National Law, no-one can own more than 20% of the Co-operative without the permission of the regulator and Co-op board.

The disclosure statement is a regulatory requirement since the Co-operative is raising money from members of the public. It sets out information one should know before making an investment. The Energy Democracy Central West NSW Co-operative has registered a disclosure statement with Fair Trading NSW that details the offer, risks, financials, and assumptions. It is important you read and understand the offer, or seek financial advice before investing in the Co-op.
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Co-operatives

A Co-operative is a self-governing association of people, who collectively and voluntarily work together to achieve their agreed common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. Co-operatives everywhere operate according to a set of core principles and values that fundamentally put the needs of their members first.

The principles are:

  1. Membership open to all, regardless of background
  2. Democratically controlled by the members for the members, with equal voting rights
  3. Surpluses allocated as agreed by the members
  4. Maintenance of the co-operative’s autonomy and independence, even when they enter into agreements with other organisations
  5. Education and training that allows effective contribution to the co-operative’s aims
  6. Co-operation amongst co-operatives
  7. Concern for the community, demonstrated through a focus on sustainability.

An Energy Democracy Co-operative presents individuals and small businesses a new opportunity to benefit from renewable energy asset investment. As a distributing cooperative, Energy Democracy Central West NSW Co-operative has been registered with Fair Trading NSW.
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Shares

Anyone, within or outside of Australia, can invest and own shares in the Co-ops.

To apply to Membership of the Central West NSW Co-op and purchase shares, please visit the Membership page and complete the online form.

One share parcel, equivalent to 1000 shares.

Yes, you can buy more shares than the minimum share subscription.

Yes. The National Co-operative Law stipulates that the maximum number of shares that one member can own is limited to 20% of the share capital without prior approval from the Co-operative Board and the Regulator.

Members may sell their shares in the community solar park. To sell a share you must find a willing buyer first. Energy Democracy will facilitate easy transfer of shares by liaising with people who are looking at buying or selling existing shares and keeping a register of interested buyers and sellers.
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Members

In the spirit of co-operatives and under the Co-operative National Law, each member has one vote regardless of the number of shares they own.

No, anyone can join the Co-operative.

The Energy Democracy Co-operatives require a minimum level of activity from members. To retain membership, you will need to continue to fulfil active participation requirements which are detailed in the Disclosure Statement for each Co-operative.

The legal liability is limited to the value of shares held by a member.

A registration is non-binding expression of interest with no associated costs. You are not obligated to proceed with investing in an Energy Democracy Co-operative if you have registered. You are not committed to investing until you accept the investment offer detailed in the Disclosure Statement, which is released after a host site for a new solar park has been finalised. Please take the opportunity to read the information available on this website before you register.

You join when you invest in the community solar park and become a member of the co-operative. In addition to your investment amount there is a $275.00 fee for membership in the co-operative in order to become a member.

The easiest way to join an Energy Democracy Co-operative is using the online form for Co-operative you would like to join. For the Central West NSW Co-operative, you can join on the Membership page.

We strongly advise you to read the Disclosure Statement and gain your own financial advice prior to making an investment decision. The Disclosure Statement contain information about joining a Co-operative.

The constitution permits joint holders, including partners, organisations and self-managed super funds (SMSF).

If you would like to discuss a potential energy Co-operative, or would like someone to speak at an event about sustainable energy, or you would like to visit a solar park, please contact us and let us know your requirements at info@energydemocracy.net.
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Electricity Sale and Income

While summer months produce more energy than winter months, the estimated return in the Disclosure Statement is calculated as an average across the entire project life.

Yes, batteries are included in the solar parks.

Traditional fossil fuel generators (such as coal and gas) contribute significantly to Australia’s carbon emissions in the electricity sector. Solar PV does not produce carbon emissions during operation, and therefore is a clean form of energy generation.

Solar PV projects are eligible to create Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for the renewable energy that is generated, throughout the life of the scheme. The Co-operative will sell these RECs, where its value is determined by the demand to offset emissions in a carbon-intensive grid with renewable energy generation.

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Management and Governance

You are encouraged to actively participate in your local Co-operative, so do consider a role on your Co-operative’s board. Please note your interest in your Registration of Interest.

Financial projections can be found in the Disclosure Statement.

Each Energy Democracy Co-operative carries insurance to help manage its risks. Please read the Disclosure Statement for more on equipment guarantees.

The solar park will be covered by insurance. The solar panel and inverter equipment manufacturers provide additional guarantees.
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Environmental

Energy payback is the time that it takes a generator to produce as much energy as was used in its construction. This includes the energy in the manufacturing processes and site construction activities.

Panels accumulate small amounts of dust which degrades generation. The maintenance of the solar park includes regular cleaning to maximise return on asset. Very little water will be required during cleaning.

Two reports, ‘The Mount Majura solar park – Glare Analysis’, prepared by CBRE and ‘Solar Glare Aviation Hazard Evaluation Engineering Report’ prepared by Canadian Solar conclude that whilst some level of glare is to be expected from the solar arrays, the impact of this glare to surrounding land users, vehicles or aircraft is ‘low potential’ and not likely to be hazardous.
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Technology

The Energy Democracy Co-operatives are technology agnostic; we are open to the use of different technology tools as they are developed and prove their worth. Our focus is on commercially proven clean energy generation that presents a lower risk for community investment.
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* Please read the Disclosure Statement. No application for relief under section 741 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) will be sought by the Energy Democracy Central West NSW Co-operative Limited (‘the Co-operative’) in relation to any statement made in this document as the Chapter 6D disclosure provisions do not apply to members’ shares in the Co-operative.