THE possibility of a locally-owned and operated solar farm in Goulburn grew closer with the approval of development application (DA) for the project last week.
Goulburn Mulwaree Council has approved the DA for a 1.2MW solar farm on a 2.5ha site off Bridge St, between Sydney Rd and the railway line in North Goulburn.
The approval has taken nine months, but the proponents, The Community Energy For Goulburn (CE4G) said this is the first solar farm the council has had to deal with.
“There is no precedent, no other solar farms have gone through the council,” CE4G member Alex Ferrara said there
“A solar farm is a semi-permanent structure so they had to get their heads around that - as well as other factors such as the 100-year flood level, setback from boundaries and that the land is also on three different titles, with one of the blocks owned by the ARTC, but as long as there is a long term lease over all of the parcels there should not be a problem.”
CE4G chair Peter Fraser said it was now important to get all of the legal and financial details sorted out before offering information to potential investors.
“We are looking at what Canberra firm SolarShare is doing in setting their solar farm up on the Majura Road,” Mr Fraser said.
“We have had meetings with them and other companies already doing this.”
He said certain changes in the renewable energy market over last six months had assisted their project.
“The price of solar panels continues to fall, and the wholesale price for energy is much higher than it was previously. Coupled with a higher price for LGECs (Large Generation Energy Certificates), the project is looking very positive,” he said.
“There has been an increase in demand for renewable energy - the price retailers are prepared to pay has increased.
“But there is still uncertainty in the energy market, stemming from different levels of government – particularly the Federal Government – not knowing what they are doing in regards to renewable energy.”
Mr Fraser hoped the solar farm was up and running by the end of the year.