A new $69million solar farm in Queensland will create up to 175 industry jobs and power 5,300 households.
The Queensland government is supporting the project with $22.8million funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and up to $20million debt finance through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt said the 20 MW AC (25 MW DC) Barcaldine Regional Community Solar Farm would draw on single-axis tracking technology to help generate power for the region.
“The solar panels are designed to tilt in the direction of the sun as it crosses the sky, maximising the effectiveness and efficiency of each of the 79,000 solar modules,” Mr Hunt said.
“Enough energy to power 5,300 households will be fed into the local grid to be used by homes and businesses in the Barcaldine area.”
Mr Hunt said that government funding for projects like this one will provide valuable knowledge about cost-effective ways to improve network efficiency at the endpoints of the national electricity grid as well as help drive down costs of large-scale solar.
“As well as helping to advance grid-connected large-scale solar in Australia, this project will produce 56,000 KWh of clean energy each year and save an estimated 42,500 tonnes of CO2,” Mr Hunt said.
Federal LNP Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott said the new solar farm would generate power and jobs in the region.
“The Barcaldine Regional Community Solar Farm will be located close to a transmission substation and gas power station on the Capricorn Highway, five kilometres east of Barcaldine,” Mr Scott said.
“It will be ideally positioned to take advantage of the region’s sunny climate and in close proximity to local labour.
“In addition to feeding renewable energy into the existing power infrastructure to help meet the region’s current energy needs, the project is expected to boost skills and employment with up to 175 jobs generated during the construction phase.”