|Starfish's purpose is to enable rural and regional sustainability. One of its most successful initiatives, Farming the Sun, is an award-winning solar energy group-buy project.|
Farming the Sun's purpose is to significantly increase the uptake, affordability and understanding of sustainable solar energy. So far it has resulted in installation of $4.8m worth of solar power, solar hot water and solar heating systems. As a community enterprise and so for-purpose rather than for-profit, these systems were on-average 30% below retail cost (which is estimated to be more than $6.7m).
One of the objectives for the solar power project within Farming the Sun was to measure and offset the carbon-footprint of the solar power system installations. This is a voluntary measure as Starfish is not legally required to manage its current footprint under any current or incoming legislation.
The solar power project totalled 552kW of fixed and tracking solar power systems. They will produce renewable energy equivalent to saving 25kt CO2-e (compared with the NSW average electricity system, which is more than 90% coal-fired power).
This saving is ten times the up-front carbon investment of 2.5kt CO2-e. The overwhelming majority of this carbon investment, or footprint, is the embedded energy in solar panels and installation materials, particularly steel and concrete (97%).
Starfish is sponsoring the trees being planted for the Frog Forest. This sponsorship reflects a contribution to offset the carbon footprint of the shipping and installation of solar power systems (which were calculated to be 130t CO2-e).