First Green Light For Gold Coast Region Solar + Battery Project

Golmine solar farm location

Image: Google Earth

A solar farm project featuring battery storage that’s been in the pipeline for a few years inched closer towards reality yesterday at a City of Gold Coast council meeting.

Goldmine Solar Farm has been proposed by Ormed Investments Pty Ltd. for a site on the outskirts of Gilberton in the northern part of City of Gold Coast’s local government area. The project has seen a number of revisions since the application was originally lodged in 2017.

In its current form, the solar farm would be established over an approximate footprint of 37.4 hectares and involve the installation of 86,935 solar panels for a total capacity of 33.47MW – making the panels around 385 watts each.  13 inverter stations will also be established, along with a battery storage facility to be located within the proposed substation site.

In 2018, the energy storage aspect was removed from the application but reintroduced late in 2019. How much battery storage capacity is involved in the latest plan isn’t clear as the detailed design for the substation and battery station is yet to be undertaken. But in a 2018 plan, battery storage capacity was noted as 5.12MWh.

As to how much electricity the solar power station will generate each year, that wasn’t noted – but a rough calculation based on the location and capacity is in the range of 60 – 65 gigawatt-hours.

The Goldmine Solar Farm site is bounded by industrial land to the north, a rail line to the west and residential development to the south; but it appears the facility will be significantly buffered and will not be viewable from residential areas.

Unanimous Support From Planning Committee

A report prepared for the City of Gold Coast Planning and Environment Committee recommended the application be approved, subject to conditions. According to the Gold Coast Bulletin (paywall), at a meeting of the Planning Committee yesterday the vote to support the project was unanimous. Final approval will still be required at a full council meeting.

You can find out more about the project here, but it’s best to prepare a packed lunch first – the section related to the solar farm is around 150 pages (starts on page 42).

Should Goldmine Solar Farm go ahead, it will give the Gilberton area a big solar capacity boost. On a related note, solar panels are popular in Gilberton, with more than 4,000 small-scale PV systems installed in the 4208 postcode area up to the end of August this year.

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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