ABC NEWS TV
by Lucy Murray
ABC NEWS Report
by Lucy Murray
Western Queensland is becoming a major hub for solar energy, with the state's largest solar power farm soon to go online near Barcaldine and construction of another major project about to get underway in Longreach.
Six solar projects partially funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) were either recently completed or being built across Queensland.
Construction is expected to begin on another six projects next year.
With construction of the 25 megawatt (MW) Barcaldine solar farm now finished, work is underway to connect the 79,000 panels to the state's electricity grid with about 580 kilometres of cable.
It will feed the grid with the capacity to power more than 8,000 homes once finished by mid-December, enough to light up Barcaldine 11 times over.
A short distance away, work will soon begin on the 15MW Longreach Solar Farm.
Canadian Solar was successful in the last round of ARENA funding and will begin construction on the project early next year. General manager Daniel Rouss said the Longreach area was perfect for solar power.
"Certainly one of the best in the world," he said.
"Basically it's good infrastructure, radiance, the amount of sunlight, support from the council, access to local community contractors. It has everything we need."
Longreach grazier James Walker said the long-running drought prompted him to diversify his operations and get involved in solar.
"You know through adversity it sort of really impacts you to make decisions and get things happening," he said.
"We don't have much cloud cover out here — in the middle of the drought I supposed we signalled that.
"I think it just makes a lot of sense, we have a lot of sunny days here and long day lengths."
Canadian Solar submits ARENA Advancing Renewables Programme Full Application
Canadian Solar’s Longreach Project proposal has been shortlisted for the ARENA Large-Scale Solar PV – Competitive Round under the Advancing Renewables Programme after submitting an Expression of Interest Application.
Following the Expression of Interest Application, Canadian Solar has recently submitted the final component of the application on June 15th, 2016. Canadian Solar are currently anticipating the next stages of the submission, where results of the chosen projects granted ARENA funding will be released in September, 2016.
The Longreach Solar Farm Project will form an important showcase and economic driver for not only the local diversity of the region, but the whole of Australia and the renewable energy industry in general.
For more information on the ARENA Programme and to view shortlisted projects please view the following link: http://arena.gov.au/programmes/advancing-renewables-programme/large-scale-solar-pv/