The University of Wollongong's Shoalhaven and Bega campuses are set to go green when the South Coast's first solar farm goes live next month.
The campuses will use 100 per cent renewable energy from the solar plant at Nowra Hill, which will represent a major leap forward in the University's quest to make all campuses carbon-neutral.
Chair of UOW's Sustainable Futures Committee, Professor Tim McCarthy, said the proved it was possible to run a large organisation using 100 per cent renewable energy.
"The solar farm is a community based initiative to create the largest solar farm in our region," he said.
"The agreement is a true South Coast collaboration and is the first step towards making our campuses 100 per cent renewable.
"It is all about creating energy for the region within the region and having it at the doorstep of our Shoalhaven campus is the perfect alignment."
The $5 million Shoalhaven Community Solar Farm set on 10 hectares was co-developed by community funded solar company Repower Shoalhaven and Melbourne based energy retailer Flow Power.
The plant will generate three megawatts a day- enough to power 1,500 homes - and is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 5,500 tonnes per year.
Already 20 per cent of the project's output has been purchased by the City of Sydney, while the rest will offered to Shoalhaven businesses.
Chair of non-profit community group Repower Shoalhaven, Professor Walter Moore, said the solar farm will provide power to the University's Shoalhaven and Bega campuses, as well as the graduate school of medicine accommodation in Nowra by Christmas.
"This is an amazing achievement when you think construction of the 8000-panel farm started in July," he said.
"The solar farm is a significant step forward in encouraging the Illawarra/south coast towards a more carbon neutral future.
"It shows that the local community and regional businesses have a desire to source locally produced, clean energy. Even in the absence of any clear government policy or financial support.
"The SSF also provides a working model where community groups and businesses can collaborate to help reduce our carbon emissions and energise the local economy at the same time."
The solar farm is on land owned by Shoalhaven City Council, which has granted a 30-year-lease on the property.