One of Australia’s largest solar farms, APA Group’s Darling Downs Solar Farm, has been officially opened by Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham.

Darling Downs Solar Farm is the latest clean energy generator to enter the National Electricity Market via Powerlink’s transmission network.

The farm, a photovoltaic generation facility comprising 423,360 solar panels installed over 250ha, is capable of generating 110MW (AC), which is enough to power 36,000 homes.

“We’ve got more than $5 billion worth of renewable energy projects either generating, underway or financially committed across Queensland with one third of this investment in the Darling Downs alone,” Dr Lynham said.

“This latest solar farm owned by APA Group is one of five clean energy generators to come online in the Darling Downs region in just three years and is one of Queensland’s 30 clean energy generators.

The $200 million Darling Downs Solar Farm project was developed and constructed with the help of a $20 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

The project is underpinned by a long-term offtake agreement with Origin Energy to purchase all of the energy and the Large-scale Renewable Generation Certifications (LGCs) generated by the solar farm until 2030.

“Our new Darling Downs Solar Farm is a world class renewables facility that demonstrates APA’s commitment to responsible energy,” APA Group CEO and Managing Director, Rob Wheals, said.

“It showcases what can be achieved when industry, government and communities come together with a common goal.

“We’re continuing to grow our capabilities in renewable energy infrastructure as part of our growth strategy. Darling Downs Solar Farm is part of our growing renewables infrastructure portfolio, which will, together with our gas infrastructure, contribute to Australia’s transition to a lower carbon economy.”

Powerlink Interim Chief Executive, Kev Kehl, said Powerlink was proud to play its role in providing connection for another renewable generator to enter the National Electricity Market.

“Powerlink’s works involved constructing 480m of new transmission line to connect the solar farm to the existing Braemar to Darling Downs transmission line,” Mr Kehl said.

“This is one of 13 committed renewable connection projects delivered by Powerlink, representing more than 1600MW of renewable generation.”

The Darling Downs Solar Farm site is located approximately 45km west of Dalby in South West Queensland and connects into the existing Darling Downs Braemar substation, connecting it into the national electricity grid. Commercial operations commenced in January 2019.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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