Birdwood Solar and Storage Project Progresses

Birdwood Solar And Storage Project

Image: Google Earth

A development application has been conditionally approved by Adelaide Hills Council for a solar farm with battery storage on the outskirts of Birdwood. But the project going ahead is not a done deal.

Tetris Energy wants to build a 4.98MWac solar facility it says will generate an estimated 12,500 MWh of clean electricity each year. A 4 MWh battery storage facility may also be included, but this is unlikely to be integrated from the outset.

The proposed facility is to be located on an already cleared site adjacent to the intersection of Warren Road and Torrens Valley Road and will connect to the Angas Creek to Tungkillo 33kV line. The 4.98MW capacity was chosen as it fits well with current loading on the line and there is also less red tape to deal with when generators are under 5MW in terms of licensing.

Tetris Energy says the solar panels to be used may be bifacial, it look like the inverters will be supplied by SMA and battery storage will be “similar to that” installed at Hornsdale Power Reserve (Tesla).

While solar farms aren’t specifically listed as an envisaged use within the Birdwood area, the Council Assessment Panel noted renewable energy facilities are generally supported by Council’s Development Plan policies when established in appropriate areas. There is a intention for continued sheep grazing on the land under and around the solar panel arrays.

Significant Opposition

The Birdwood Solar and Storage Project will be situated quite close to Birdwood homes – just a few hundred metres from the nearest residence. Zooming in on Google Earth shows the 3 houses closest to the site have solar panels installed; so those households will certainly be familiar with the benefits of PV.

In Birdwood, solar panels are a very common sight. 303 small-scale systems had been installed in Birdwood’s postcode as at September 30, which is a very impressive tally given a population just north of 1,200.

While Birdwood residents may be embracing solar panels for their rooftops, this doesn’t mean the solar farm is being welcomed with open arms. The Council Assessment Panel notes:

“Seventy eight representations in opposition and two representation (sic) in support of the proposal were received during the Category 3 public notification period.”


Recognising community concerns, Tetris Energy made some adjustments to its plans, including using a single axis tracking system, engaging in extensive landscaping to create vegetation screens and painting all buildings Woodland Grey to blend in better with the surrounds.

But these adjustments don’t necessarily mean the project will go ahead. It’s not clear how well-received the changes were and the Council Assessment Panel decision can be appealed with the Environment, Resources and Development Court.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Ronald Brakels says

    Dual solar farm & agricultural use is very rare in Australia, so it will be interesting if this goes ahead. In Birdwood the limiting factor for plant growth is water availability, not sunshine, so the cut to agricultural productivity caused by solar panels may not be large. But if they use bifacial panels, I’d expect they’d want light coloured ground beneath them.

Speak Your Mind

Please keep the SolarQuotes blog constructive and useful with these 4 rules:

1. Real names are preferred - you should be happy to put your name to your comments.
2. Put down your weapons.
3. Assume positive intention.
4. If you are in the solar industry - try to get to the truth, not the sale.
5. Please stay on topic.

%d bloggers like this: