The renovated roof of the South Melbourne Market is to become home to 3000 solar panels, giving a power generation capacity of 740kW if a community funded solar project goes ahead. The plan is part of the LIVE Community Power project, a not for profit climate change initiative that will be seeking to fund the project via shares sold to investors.

Currently, the redesigned roof houses 150 panels, which were installed as part of the $4.4 million renovation project by the Port Phillip Council. This accounts for 37kW capacity, once a viability study is completed by February 2013 the project will go ahead in 2013. The LIVE group hopes to expand on the current number of panels, from 5% roof covering to 95%; approximately 3000 solar panels, generating 1,280,000 kWh per year. This would provide enough electricity for the markets, as well as excess capacity that would be sold back in to the grid.

The LIVE group will hope to complete the project by 2013, which will be funded by selling one thousand $1000 shares to the public. These are intended to be sold to community members who cannot install their own solar panels, for example those that rent, live in apartments, or don’t have sufficient sunlight on their roof.

The project if completed will set an important precedent for community funded renewable energy projects which are expected to gain traction over the next few years.

Find out more about the project at the LIVE Community Power Project.