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.