Solar Power Shines In Gannawarra Shire Council Region

Cohuna solar farm - Gannawarra Shire

Image: plonk66

It’s all happening in Victoria’s Gannawarra Shire on the solar energy front – Cohuna Solar Farm is just one of a number of PV projects for the region.

Last week, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio announced six successful projects from the VRET reverse auction that will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 646,273 households.

Bids were not only considered on the basis of price, but also the contribution of projects to local economic development, best practice community engagement, benefit sharing and job creation. Among the successful projects was Enel Green Power’s Cohuna Solar Farm, a 34MW facility boasting approximately 87,000 solar panels.

Gannawarra Shire Council welcomed the announcement.

“This is another positive step forward in diversifying the Gannawarra economy and aligns with Council’s strategic commitment to renewable energy,” said Acting Chief Executive Officer Geoff Rollinson following the announcement. “The Cohuna solar farm will create a number of employment opportunities and will be a major boost for the local accommodation, retail and construction sectors.”

Work on the clean power station should start in early 2019, with commercial operations expected to commence late next year. Cohuna Solar Farm will include local residents in its Engagement and Benefit Sharing Program, with programs designed to meet the needs of the local community.

It won’t be the last big solar project for the area – Mr Rollinson states seven are proposed. This page details those that have been approved (but doesn’t appear to include Cohuna).

A project in the council’s region already operating is Gannawarra Solar Farm, a 60MW facility located west of Kerang that connected to the grid earlier this year. The facility will also soon also have a 25MW / 50MWh Tesla Powerpack battery system installed.

Council says its area is attractive to large-scale PV developers as it offers good solar resources, a high capacity terminal station and available land.

Beyond large-scale solar, Council has also been active promoting small-scale through a scheme whereby pensioners have solar installed with the cost of the systems paid back through rates over a period of ten years.

Gannawarra Shire, located beside the Murray River in the Loddon Murray region of Victoria, is approximately 3 hours’ drive from Melbourne. Its largest population center is Kerang, which has been on board with the home solar revolution. According to recent figures from the Clean Energy Regulator, there are at least 719 small scale solar power systems installed within Kerang’s postcode (population 5,365 – 2016 Census), representing 3.83MW of capacity.

Cohuna is situated 25km east of Kerang.

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.

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