Solar Q, a Queensland based solar company, has lodged a development application with the Gympie Council as they are currently proposing to develop a $2b solar farm and battery storage 30km north-west of the city. Terrific news for renewable energy in Queensland and we are really excited to see how they manage the energy storage aspect of the project.
Solar Q MD Scott Armstrong
Managing director of Solar Q, Scott Armstrong, has been quoted by the ABC as advising the project is Australia’s biggest solar + energy facility. “To give you an idea of size, at ultimate design it will provide around 15 per cent of south-east Queensland’s energy requirements from both the solar panels and the 4,000 megawatt hours of energy storage,” Mr Armstrong said.
The plan is to build this amazing facility in stages, with the first stage (which Solar Q have already applied to build) totalling 350MW. This is slated to increase to 800MW by 2021 – enough electricity to power around 315,000 houses. The solar farm will connect to the grid at a Lower Wonga substation and can feed energy to Kilkivan, Gympie, Palmwoods, Caboolture, Beerwah – and will even be able to feed into North Brisbane and all the way north to Gin Gin and central Queensland.
The 17km2 site will house around 3 million solar panels and help ease the load on power stations during periods of peak consumption such as night time or during heatwaves.
To put these numbers into perspective, Queensland has the highest rate of business and residential solar in the country, a total of 1,805mw with over 32% of homes having solar panels installed. This project would increase the number by almost 50%, ensuring QLD can continue jostling with SA in the fight to be the solar capital of Australia. It looks like the 2020 RET (Renewable Energy Target) of 33,000 GWh of renewable sourced energy is still on track.
Gympie Solar Farm Project Description
As per the Gympie Times, the project will:
- Generate around 735,000MWH/an which will power 127,000 homes (we assume this are figures for stage 1)
- Generate 350MW of Solar PV.
- Create 450 full time jobs for 18 months during construction.
- Create 6-8 full time ongoing jobs.
- Reduce carbon emissions by 666 tonnes of co2 – which is as much as 180k cars.
- Be housed on 572 hectares of cleared grazing land, adjacent to the Lower Wonga substation.
The Approval Process
Mick Curran, the Mayor of Gympie, was quoted as saying that “there doesn’t appear to be any great hurdles to overcome” – noting that the project will create 450 jobs during its construction and he would “certainly look forward personally to seeing all of these approvals come to fruition”. If there is no problem with the Gympie Council or State Government Agencies, work on the Solar Q Gympie Solar Plant will start by the end of 2017.
The plant will be funded without government help – by a combination of private investors and superannuation management funds.
Watch this space for more information on this exciting development!