Solar project to reflect Mareeba’s future
PLANS to construct a $100 million solar energy farm near Mareeba that will have the capacity to power at least 34,000 homes has been given the green light.
Mareeba Shire Council this week approved an application from Cleangen Projects Pty Ltd to construct a 60-megawatt solar farm on Lockwood Road, 5km southwest of Mareeba.
The solar farm operations will cover about 143ha, with more than 200,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on-site that will feed energy back into the grid network by linking to the Ergon Energy Turkinje substation, about 2km west of the site.
Once operational, the solar farm will produce more than 147,000MWh a year, offsetting more than 120,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
Cleangen Projects Pty Ltd managing director Koovashni Reddy said the project had been in the planning stage for more than two years.
She said construction was expected to start late 2018 and would take eight to 12 months.
“The solar radiation in Mareeba is quite good and the land is quite suitable and close to the substation,” she said.
“The project will create great job opportunities for the area — 200 construction jobs and about five to eight full time operation roles.
“We will also be working with the council and community to set up apprenticeship programs running through the construction stage.
“We’ll be targeting women, youth and local aboriginal groups.”
Mayor Tom Gilmore welcomed the proposed development.
“Mareeba prides itself on having 300 sunny days a year so we ought to take advantage of that,” he said.
“Renewable energy is becoming more in demand and we are certainly excited about this potential investment.”