The 11MW Williamsdale Solar Farm in the ACT, 20km south of Canberra, has been completed and the ACT government’s impressive “solar highway” project is now completed. What’s next for solar energy in the ACT?
About the Williamsdale Solar Farm
The Williamsdale Solar Farm consists of 36,000 solar panels and is able to generate enough electricity to power 3,000 homes. Climate Change Minister Shane Rattenbury was quoted in the Canberra Times as saying: “The clean power generated by the Williamsdale Solar Farm takes us another significant step towards achieving our target of 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020 in the ACT.” Rattenbury also noted that the future is here and it is “clean, green, and renewable,” and that renewable energy is responsible for around $500 million in investment into the local ACT economy.
Forecasts by the ACT Government have shown that the solar farms will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.4 million tonnes over the coming two decades.
Elementus Energy started work on the Williamsdale Solar Farm in 2013 at its initial location near Uriarra Village – this was eventually moved to Williamsdale after fierce local opposition and the project was then taken over by the Impact Investment Group in 2016. The Impact Investment Group agreed to purchase the project “as-is” and develop it further with the price tag being quoted as “up to $35 million.”
About the ACT’s “Solar Highway”
With the SolarShare Community Energy Majura Solar Farm, the Mugga Lane solar farm, and the Royalla solar farm already completed, the ACT now has a combined 177,000 solar PV panels along a 50 kilometre stretch, which is being called the ACT’s “Solar Highway”. The highway runs from the Monaro Highway in the south to the Majura Parkway heading north, and, according to Minister Rattenbury, will create 85,500 mWh per year of renewable electricity – enough to power 11,700 homes.
Next year, the Sapphire, Hornsdale Stage 2, and Crookwell 2 wind farms will begin generation. The ACT continues to have some of the lowest electricity prices in Australia.