Susan River Solar Farm Construction Commences

The up-to 100MW and $175m Susan River Solar Farm located between Hervey Bay and Maryborough in Queensland is commencing construction this month after being granted DA in 2016.

Susan River Solar Farm

Susan River Solar Farm
Susan River Solar Farm Mockup (source: http://susanriversolarfarm.com.au/)

The Susan River Solar Farm was granted DA (development approval) by the Fraser Coast Regional Council in December 2016 and is now commencing its construction, with roadworks already underway to ensure the infrastructure is set up correctly before building commences. The project is being developed by one of Australia’s biggest renewable energy developers – ESCO Pacific Pty Ltd. They currently have nine solar farms in various stages of completion – with three under construction (The Ross River Solar Farm, Childers Solar Farm, and Susan River Solar Farms) and six with planning secured. These six are in Rollingstone, Dino, Horsham, Koberinga, Moura, and Finley.

With regards to solar employment at the Susan River Solar Farm, Esco chief executive Steve Rademaker said the project will create up to 300 jobs during its inception and five to ten full-time jobs after the plant’s construction is complete. He went on to explain why the Fraser Coast location was ideal for their solar farm:

“Choosing a location came down to the suitable size identification and proximity to the electrical grid, among other factors,” Mr Rademaker said.

“The Fraser Coast ticked all these boxes. It’s a good location to build a project like this.”

According to the Fraser Coast Chronicle, the project will occupy 176 hectares and will involve the installation of 350,000 PV solar panels. 

Fraser Coast infrastructure councillor Denis Chapman called it a “jewel in the crown” of the Fraser Coast. 

The project doesn’t have a PPA (Purchase Power Agreement) signed yet, which means the farm will sell its output on the spot market once launched (unless they sign one first!).

The utility scale renewable energy project is expected to finish completion next year. 

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Western Downs green power hub council approval.

The Western Downs green power hub planned by French renewable giant Neoen has received council approval for a solar farm of size up to 500MW. This impressive project promises to bring  North Queensland solar jobs and continue the large-scale solar revolution in Queensland and Australia.

The Western Downs green power hub

The Western Downs green power hub
The Western Downs green power hub proposed location (source: westerndownsgreenpowerhub.com.au)

The Western Downs green power hub will be located 22km south of Chinchilla and 62km north west of Dalby, according to RenewEconomy. No word on the specifics of the gear they will use, but a huge 1500 hectares of ground mounted solar panels will feed two hectares of battery energy storage. This is going to be a gigantic undertaking.

According to the website for the green power hub, they’ll produce around 1.05MWh (million megawatt hours) per year.

“A combination of an ambitious Queensland Renewable Energy Target and a proactive government to meet those targets provide highly favourable conditions for renewable energy projects in the State,” Neoen says on the website.

“Consequently, the company will expedite the development of Western Downs Green Power Hub, as well as several other projects in Queensland.”

Construction was initially slated to commence in Q3 this year but it now looks like mid a 2019 start date will be more likely, according to the website.

“Construction is expected to start mid 2019 providing employment opportunities for the region.”

An article from the Chronicle in September last year (when it was being touted as a 250MW solar plant) noted that the consturction phase of the project will generate up to 300 solar jobs and between two to four during regular usage.

Neoen have been responsible for a number of huge projects across Australia recently:

 

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Solar Jobs in Australia – over 10,000 employed.

The latest Renewable Energy Index (REI) has some great news for solar jobs in Australia – noting that 5,456 new jobs have been created by the many large-scale solar farms currently under construction. The REI, published by Green Energy Markets for January 2018, says there are now more than 10,000 Australians working in the solar industry, and for the first time people working in large-scale solar surpassed the rooftop (domestic) sector. 

Solar Jobs in Australia

PV Magazine Australia noted that Western Australia is lagging behind significantly – with almost 5GW (5000MW) of large scale solar projects currently being built across Australia, only 37MW of that is represented by Western Australia. This generates less than 100 full-time positions in the sector. Queensland is the highest with 6,421 commercial solar jobs, Victoria has a little under 5,000, New South Wales represents 3,579, and even Tasmania has 495 positions created by solar plant construction.

According to Green Energy Markets, “Total power produced by solar nationally over 2020 is likely to be 19,000 gigawatt-hours which is equal to the entire electricity consumption of WA’s main grid,”

Solar PV now represents around 5% of overall power consumption across Australia – a 10x increase from the 0.5% it had in 2010. Given the huge amount of large-scale solar farms currently in various stages of planning and construction, there’s no doubt the sector will continue to grow exponentially – and with it the need for both solar employers and solar employees to find each other. 

Clean Energy Recruitment – Saving With Solar Job Portal

The team at Saving with Solar have been hard at work launching a job portal to match job seekers with solar companies. 

If you’re a solar employer looking for experienced solar installers, contractors, or someone to train up, please click here to submit a listing and find a solar employee.

If you’re a solar employee looking for work, please view our solar jobs. You’re also able to upload your resume to our database which solar employers have access to.
Solar Jobs In Australia

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