Wangaratta Solar Farm Project Progress

Plans for a 20 megawatt solar facility proposed for an industrial estate in North Wangaratta in Victoria look set to continue to move ahead.

According to the Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta Council has signaled its intention to lease a 14.99 hectare site near the estate.

Originally to be a 10MW facility, Countrywide Energy lodged an amended plan to double the project size in early August; with the extra land required to be sourced through private agreement.

At 20MW, the facility will be the largest solar farm in Victoria – assuming other larger projects in the pipeline don’t hit the finish line first.

Anywhere from 50-90 jobs will be created during the construction phase.

The plant is being built to serve electricity users in the industrial estate, who currently don’t have a secure energy supply. According to the developer, the current situation impacts on production, performance, employment and expansion plans of businesses in the area.

The facility will be constructed under what has been called the “Wangaratta Model” – a collaboration between the developer, local council and commercial energy consumers.

The $20 million solar farm project will play an important role in Victoria reaching its renewable energy target. In June, the State Government set a 25% target by 2020, increasing to 40% by 2025.

The Government anticipates up to 5,400 megawatts of new large-scale renewables projects will be constructed in the state over the next nine years, which will involve an estimated $2.5 billion of investment in Victoria.

Around 14 per cent of Victoria’s electricity comes from renewable sources currently.

Wangaratta is situated approximately 230 km from Melbourne. The council area covers an area of 3,639 square kilometres and at the 2011 Census, the region had a population of just shy of 27,000.

There are around 1,331 solar power systems installed Wangaratta’s 3677 postcode and 108 in the 3676 postcode. These systems have a combined capacity of just under 5MW, so the addition of the solar farm will be a mighty boost for the region.

On average, the Wangaratta region receives solar irradiation levels of around 4.68 kilowatt hours per square metre daily.

News item provided courtesy of Energy Matters Australia