Article courtesy of the Longreach Leader:
Marking the start of construction with a soil-turning at the Longreach Solar Farm were from left: James Walker, Camden Park, Stephen Imlay, general manager power systems RCR Infrastructure, David Scafaro, operations manager RCR Infrastructure, Paul Hockings, director of corporate services Longreach Regional Council, Josh Currah, project manager Longreach Solar Farm, Canadian Solar, Ian Bodil, CEO Longreach Regional Council, Councillor Tony Martin Longreach Regional Council, Linda McNab, economic development officer Longreach Regional Council, Chris Eccles, project manager Longreach Solar Farm RCR Infrastructure, Greg Woodward, construction manager RCR Infrastructure, Ryan Dionysius, site supervisor RCR Infrastructure, and Margesh Raval, Civil Project Engineer.
Construction begins at Longreach Solar Farm
CANADIAN Solar’s project manager Josh Currah was full of enthusiasm when he and Longreach Councillor Tony Martin turned the first sod to signal the start of construction of a 15MW solar farm on Camden Park east of Longreach
Equally enthusiastic was landholder James Walker not only to have a clean energy power plant as a tenant, but for the secure financial return it will contribute to his business over the next 30 years.
Camden Park was an ideal site as far as the solar industry was concerned, and Canadian Solar was delighted to have secured the site, Mr Currah said.
Solar power companies looking to establish in Australia wanted more than sunshine. The ideal site was adjacent to a transmission line that wasn’t peak capacity. Camden Park had it all, he said.
Canadian Solar has recently completed a 5MW solar farm at Normanton and this had “demonstrated to key stakeholders such as the state government and energy distributors that there were meaningful technical and financial benefits of positioning distributed generation at the far end of the sub-transmission (66KV) network” he said.
“What we learnt in Normanton we are applying to Longreach and part of our reporting to the funding body, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is sharing that knowledge”, he said.
“A big part of Normanton was that it was a fringe-of-grid location, and a lot of that knowledge will go into Longreach. Successfully applying this knowledge has the potential to unlock a new wave of renewable energy investment in other fringe-of-grid locations and also gives us valuable knowledge for solar applications in other remote locations.”
The 86 hectare lease will contain 54,600 panels, generating enough energy to power around 5,000 Queensland homes.
The 66KvA SWER line is at the edge of the lease and Canadian Solar has already set up feed-in agreements with Ergon Energy.
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/