The regional city of Gympie could become the location of the biggest solar farm in Australia.
Queensland company Solar Q submitted a development application to build a $2 billion solar farming facility in Gympie, 170 kilometres north of Brisbane, which would eventually supply 15% of south-east Queensland’s energy needs and attempt to help the state reach its sustainability target of 50% renewable energy by 2030.
The initial approval being sought was for a 350-megawatt facility, but within four years it was proposed to increase this to 800 megawatts or enough electricity to power about 315,000 homes.
Solar Q Managing Director Scott Armstrong said the finished facility would be the biggest solar farm in Australia.
“To give you an idea of size, at ultimate design it will provide around 15 per cent of south-east Queensland’s energy requirements from both the solar panels and the 4,000 megawatt hours of energy storage,” Mr Armstrong said.
He said the solar farm would supply power to the electricity grid via an existing substation at Lower Wonga.
“That sub-station will actually feed energy to Kilkivan, Gympie and Palmwoods on the Sunshine Coast,” he said.
According to the ABC, the completed project would include around three million solar panels and will provide power to the network on a 17 square kilometre site.
The ABC said during peak consumption at night, a battery storage facility powered by the grid will ease the load on power stations.
Gympie Mayor Mick Curran said the project would create 450 jobs during its construction.
“This project is subject to council and state approvals so there are a few hoops to go through before the sod is actually turned on this project,” Cr Curran said.
“But with the liaison that has occurred between this company and our town planners, there doesn’t appear to be any great hurdles to overcome.
“I would certainly look forward personally to seeing all of those approvals come to fruition.”