Green Light For More Large-Scale Solar Projects In New South Wales

Large scale solar power in NSW

Gilgandra Solar Farm Preliminary Layout

NSW Department of Planning and Environment has approved four major solar power projects to be constructed in the west of the state.

With a collective capacity of 275 MW, the new clean energy facilities will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of more than 100,000 homes. The Department says with the addition of these new facilities, it will bring the total number of large-scale solar projects it has approved to 16.

“When the four new farms begin operation, NSW’s 16 large-scale solar farms will generate sustainable power for 423,000 households, with a combined capacity for 1,131 megawatts of renewable energy,” said Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts.

The solar farms will be located in Nevertire, Walgett, Gilgandra and Metz.

Gilgandra Solar Farm will be a 40MW facility consisting of 152,000 solar panelsNevertire will boast 105MW capacity, Metz up to 100MW and the Walgett facility, 29MW.

Last month, the Department also gave the go-ahead for a 200MW PV power station near Balranald. The Sunraysia Solar Farm could take the title of the largest in the southern hemisphere once completed; but it might not hang onto the crown for long if it does at all.  Construction has already started on the Bungala Solar Project, a 300MW PV facility near Port Augusta in South Australia, which is to be built in three stages. The second stage, which will bring the project to 220MW, is about to get under way.

Other Large-Scale Solar Power Project Approvals

The 11 other large-scale solar farms granted state government approval in New South Wales since 2011 are:

  • Nyngan (106MW)
  • Bogan River (Nyngan) (100MW)
  • Capital (Bungendore) (50MW)
  • Manildra (50MW)
  • Riverina (Yoogali) (30MW)
  • Griffith (Yoogali) (60MW)
  • White Rock (Matheson) (20MW)
  • Parkes (65MW)
  • Goonumbla (Parkes) (65MW)
  • Moree (56MW)
  • Broken Hill (53MW)

Minister Roberts says his state continues to lead the nation in large-scale solar power.

Queensland may not be far behind. In May this year, Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton reported 14 solar energy projects already under construction in Queensland or starting construction this year represented 800MW of new generation capacity.

Regardless of who is in the number one spot, it’s a good effort by New South Wales; a state that in the past has been accused of being a laggard on solar power.

 “We are committed to our country’s Renewable Energy Target and the State’s Renewable Energy Action Plan, and we are well on the way toward the 20 per cent target for renewable energy by 2020,” said Minister Roberts.

The four new projects will also bring welcome added employment, with up to 645 jobs expected to be created during their construction phase.

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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