The proponents of a $380 million solar farm at Gunning have turned their attention to Carrick.
This time Photon Energy wants to build a $188m solar farm on the Lockyersleigh property on the Carrick Road, some 10km southwest of Marulan, next to Holcim’s Lynwood quarry.
Comprising 360,000 solar panels, the 144 megawatt farm is pegged for a 200 hectare site in the property’s southeast corner.
The company has not yet lodged a development application for the state significant project.
Its project development manager Nick Guzowski said the proposal was only in its preliminary stages. The company is holding a community consultation meeting at the Towrang Hall at 6.30pm Thursday night to outline the plan and gauge sentiment. It has already spoken to the Marulan Chamber of Commerce, Towrang Valley Progress Group and Goulburn Mulwaree Council.
“Carrick was a favourable site due to its close proximity to load centres that consume the energy,” Mr Guzowski said.
“It is not far from Sydney and Goulburn, the site is quite large and close to the grid. We chose it because it was flat land and (the solar panels) able to be connected to the grid easily.”
More broadly, Photon Energy says with coal fired generators, like Hazelwood going offline, there’s increasing demand for solar and other technologies to plug the power gap.
“The price of solar has declined and power prices have increased so large-scale solar farms are seen as economical to build without the need for government subsidies,” Mr Guzowski said.
The project is estimated to generate 100 jobs, most of which will be sourced locally, for the nine-month construction phase. Mr Guzowski said only several positions were needed once the farm was up and running.
A substation would be constructed on the property. The two metre by one metre panels would be mounted on blocks in groups of 10 and arranged in rows. They would be connected to inverters plugging into a high voltage line running through the property. All power will be fed into the grid.
Mr Guzowski said an environmental impact statement would be prepared as part of the process.
A development application for the Carrick solar farm is expected to be lodged in six months.
Mr Guzowski said to date the company had received a “positive reaction.”
“We’ve had a good experience so far and generally people are open to seeing this as new energy generation and a substitute for coal,” he said.
“Australia will continue to move ahead and develop these kinds of projects.”
Photon is also proposing a community enhancement fund and will garner ideas at Thursday’s meeting.
Meantime, the company is pressing ahead with its Gunning solar farm plans. The project is planned for a site 12km southwest of the town on a Lade Vale Road property.
Business development manager Robert Ibrahim said the NSW Department of Planning had issued environmental requirements. An environmental impact assessment will be undertaken over the next three to four months.