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ACT solar farm announces new tender ….. for sheep

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The owners of the Mugga Lane Solar Park in the ACT are looking for one more addition to their almost complete 13MW power station – and it’s not battery storage.

Maoneng Group, who started building the solar farm in March after winning a tender in the ACT government’s first large-scale renewables reverse auction, has this week launched its own, rather unusual, tender – for a flock of sheep.

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The company is seeking expressions of interest for a farmer or community group to graze 100-150 head of sheep within the Mugga Lane Solar Park – an area of around 46 hectares at the intersection of Mugga Lane and Monaro Highway in the ACT.

“Applicants must maintain the livestock inclusive of drenching, crutching, shearing, veterinarian costs and portable pens,” the tender says, adding that “weathers or non-lambing ewes are preferred.”

The owners of the solar park, which began generating power in mid-November, will provide and maintain fencing, two water troughs and a small holding paddock with all-weather accessibility.

Maoneng’s Shaun Curran said the deal, which would be a quid pro quo “cost neutral” affair, would provide a local farmer or community group with free and secure grazing, while for the Solar Farm, it would provide free lawn mowing and reduce the site’s fire risk.

“We are hoping to add to the sustainability of utility-scale solar PV by proving that sheep grazing can be successfully integrated into the operation of the facility,” Curran told One Step Off The Grid on Friday.

“We have had interest from three or four interested parties, we will assess those expressions of interest and hope to make a decision in the new year.”

Curran also noted that sheep, while preferred, were possibly not the only livestock option.

Either way, Curran is confident the Solar Park will have its maintenance crew by January, 2017 – and has promised to update us on the tender’s progress.

For further enquiries, or to request an Expression of Interest application, contact Shaun Curran: [email protected]

*This article has been amended to better reflect the company’s position.  

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  • George Darroch

    And if it gets too hot they get a little shade as well! A nice little story.

    • Doug Cutler

      Shade from sun, some degree of rain cover, too. Greater diversity of plant growth in partial shade. I wonder if there’s any reduced stress on the animals that shows up in either greater productivity or smaller vet bills.

      • Goldie444

        They may even taste better too!

        • Doug Cutler

          I’m vegetarian so you’ll have to let me know. Do enjoy a good wool sweater, though.

  • Jonathan Prendergast

    Will the sheep be ring fenced?