JDAP Decision On Waroona Solar Farm This Week

Waroona solar farm

Image: South Energy

Western Australia’s Mid-West/ Wheatbelt Joint Development Assessment Panel will discuss South Energy’s proposed Waroona Solar Farm project this week.

Waroona Solar Farm is to be located on a 308-hectare site approximately 11 kilometres south-west of Waroona, which is around 117 kilometres south of Perth. While large scale PV is new to the Waroona area, small-scale solar power is already very popular. Around 799 watts of PV capacity per person is installed in the Waroona postcode area (6215) – close to double Australian average.

The 183MW Waroona project will feature 488,800 solar panels mounted on single-axis trackers and South Energy says 20MW of battery storage will also be integrated. The facility is expected to generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 67,000 homes and avoid approximately 285,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

Jobs And Sheep

The solar panels arrays are to be spaced 8 to 10 metres apart and will cover about half of the available land. The layout of the facility enables agricultural activities such as grazing to continue – sheep will be able to graze between the rows and underneath the panels; which will also provide shade for livestock.

South Energy says it is committed to supporting the local community via benefit sharing programs through a community fund. Additionally, the project will generate approximately 250 direct and indirect jobs during its construction phase and four permanent jobs once in operation.

Most of the site has already been cleared for pastoral activities, but it contains a number of sensitive wetland areas that will need protection. The JDAP’s Director of  Planning & Economic Development has recommended the Assessment Panel approve the application subject to various conditions and advice.

Assuming the project gain all the necessary approvals, South Energy intends commencing construction early in 2021, with full commercial operations to commence in 2022.

Other South Energy Solar Projects

Melbourne-based South Energy’s other venture in WA is Benger Solar Farm, a proposed 100MWac PV project near Bunbury in Western Australia. The public comment period for Benger closed in late September.

In its home state of Victoria, South Energy has the following projects in its pipeline:

  • Raywood – 200 MW
  • Goorambat – 75 MW
  • Kennedys Creek – 145 MW
  • Lake Mokoan – 190 MW
  • Frasers – 75 MW

… giving it a total of 965MW (AC) of PV capacity in Victoria and Western Australia at the planning stage.

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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