ACT solar farm rejected by Uriarra begins construction in Williamsdale | RenewEconomy

ACT solar farm rejected by Uriarra begins construction in Williamsdale

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After an inauspicious start to life, 10MW Williamsdale solar farm is under construction, should be generating electricity by November.

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Development of a 10MW ACT solar farm that was rejected by the local community at its original development site is finally underway at its new home in Williamsdale, on the ACT-NSW border.

Project owner Impact Investment Group said on Thursday that construction had begun on the Williamsdale Solar Farm, with electricity generation – enough to power more than 3,000 households – expected from November.

The Uriarra site originally proposed for the solar farm was rejected by the local community

As we reported in February, the decision to move the solar farm some 60km to Williamsdale was agreed to last March after 18 months of community backlash at the original site in Uriarra, with locals arguing that the project would damage the character and appeal of the adjacent village, block views, and depress house prices.

Commencement of construction of the $35 million project – which, in its original incarnation as the One Sun Capital solar farm won a 20-year PPA in the ACT’s 2013 Solar Auction round – was celebrated at an event attended by ACT energy and environment minister Simon Corbell.

Once finished, the project will comprise almost 36,000 solar panels, covering 29 hectares, that will follow the sun’s path via a single axis tracking mechanism.

IIG CEO Chris Lock said that the PPA meant that, once commissioned, all of the solar farm’s electricity would be sold to the ACT government, resulting in stable, predictable income.

“These factors underpinned IIG’s investment in Williamsdale,” he said.

“As an impact investor, IIG considers positive environmental, health and social impacts when making its investment decisions, and solar power meets our criteria. Solar power provides safe, clean, power generation, with very low emissions. We expect that Williamsdale will save approximately 460,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over its lifetime.”

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