North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - FRONT PAGE -

WAN­GARATTA may soon be home to not one, but three large so­lar en­ergy farms, ca­pa­ble of gen­er­at­ing a com­bined to­tal of more than 200 megawatts.

A so­lar farm that would power 40,000 homes has been pro­posed to be built on 245 hectares near Glen­rowan.

With a to­tal build cost of more than $170 mil­lion, the farm would gen­er­ate 120 megawatts of elec­tric­ity, fed by 360,000 so­lar pan­els.

The pan­els would be set up on an east-west track­ing sys­tem, and the en­ergy pro­duced would be fed into the AusNet distri­bu­tion net­work.

ESCO Pa­cific, with Palasade In­vest­ment Part­ners, are propos­ing to build the so­lar site – the same com­pany who fi­nan­cially backed the con­struc­tion of the Bar­nawartha Saleyards.

The Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta Coun­cil is yet to re­ceive a sub­mis­sion for the site, with ESCO Pa­cific say­ing they want to sort out ob­jec­tions from nearby land own­ers be­fore pro­ceed­ing.

An­other pro­posed so­lar farm, at North Wan­garatta, is cur­rently wait­ing for a hear­ing with the Vic­to­rian Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Civil Tri­bunal after ad­ja­cent land own­ers ob­jected to the farm’s con­struc­tion.

Wan­garatta So­lar Farm is a pro­posed 20 megawatt (MW) project lo­cated along­side the North Wan­garatta In­dus­trial Es­tate.

Dis­cus­sions com­menced with the Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta coun­cil on en­ergy needs in the area in May 2015, which re­sulted in an orig­i­nal rec­om­men­da­tion by Coun­try­wide En­ergy for the de­vel­op­ment of a 10MW so­lar farm at North Wan­garatta.

Be­cause the grid con­nec­tion through AusNet Ser­vices could cope with an en­ergy in­jec­tion of 20MW, the project was dou­bled in scale to 20MW.

To gen­er­ate 20MW of elec­tric­ity, the project will re­quire up­wards of 70,000 so­lar pan­els, which will be mounted on a sin­gle-axis track­ing sys­tem that fol­lows the sun as it crosses the sky to op­ti­mise power gen­er­a­tion.

FRV Ser­vices Aus­tralia (FRV) is also look­ing to de­velop an 85 megawatt so­lar farm out­side Win­ton.

The project is cur­rently in the ini­tial plan­ning stage.

Con­sul­ta­tion with res­i­dents and stake­hold­ers is also un­der way – but if ap­proved, Win­ton So­lar Farm will pro­duce enough clean en­ergy for around 50,000 homes.

THREE FARMS: Three sep­a­rate so­lar farms have been pro­posed for the Wan­garatta re­gion.

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