Site topogrphy for $150m solar farm project.
Site topogrphy for $150m solar farm project. BRC Mapping

Multi-million dollar project slated to trigger job hike

ONE hundred jobs will be up for grabs in Bundaberg if a $150 million solar farm is approved.

The application for the renewable energy facility was submitted to Bundaberg Regional Council on Wednesday.

Slated for an agricultural lot at 317 Kent-Tobin Rd, Bullyard, the project would co-locate with Ergon Energy infrastructure on land being used for grazing activities and owned by Geoffrey and Hazel Cooley.

The application says 107.6 ha of the 146.6 ha site will be covered by solar panels.

The solar facility is expected to create 100 jobs during construction and have up to five full-time staff and five part-time staff when operational.

A report commissioned by EIWA Bundaberg Solar Pty Ltd revealed the commercial scale 92 mega watt solar farm would "feed into the existing Ergon Energy transmission lines traversing the site".

Typical fixed array of renewable energy facilities.
Typical fixed array of renewable energy facilities. Queensland Solar Farm Guidelines

"The proposal complies with the majority of relevant assessment criteria of the planning scheme. It provides a sustainable energy source to end users whilst providing a benefit to the broader community."

The multi-million dollar project will add to the region's reputation as a solar capital, with the highest percentage of homes in Australia with solar panels in Bundaberg.

According to Insite SJC, the solar panels would be fixed to metal tilt mounting structures installed in regular arrays and the structures would be about 2.2m tall.

Once all necessary approvals are received, including those from Ergon Energy, construction on the project (if approved) will begin.

"The Ergon Energy infrastructure is a crucial element of the development and one of the driving factors in site selection," the report stated.

Typically, solar facilities need to be within 5km of a suitable grid connection point.

Fixed array at a solar farm.
Fixed array at a solar farm. EIWA Solar Bundaberg Pty Ltd

Construction is estimated to take between six to 24 months.

"The construction phase would include ground preparation, site clearance and other minor earthworks," Insite SJC reported.

Before the application was lodged, the council indicated in-principle support for the project, as long as EIWA Bundaberg Solart Pty Ltd complied with requirements under the Bundaberg Regional Council Planning Scheme 2015.

"The primary matters of consideration related to the impacts of flooding and how the proposed development would function on the site given the level of hazard," Insite SJC's report stated.

"Officers also recommended identifying how the impacts of glint and glare on nearby sensitive receptors would be mitigated, with separation, alignment of arrays and the topography of the site likely forming part of considerations."

A solar farm project approved in December 2016, the 75 mega watt Childers Solar Farm, is slated for completion in the coming months.

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