The 35MW Brigalow Solar Farm in Yarranlea, near Pittsworth, in Queensland has begun sending power to the grid.
The solar farm, which is owned by the solar arm of the Impact Investment Group, has had a rocky road to generation, marked by a legal battle with the Queensland government and a brush with fire in September of last year.
The legal battle came about when the managers of Brigalow – Maryrorough Solar – filed a claim in the Queensland Supreme Court arguing that a state-government led rule change affecting solar installations would add around $2.6 million to the cost of the Yarranlea project, which at that time was already under construction.
The rule change, which was for a short period of time brought into effect in the state last year, required licensed electricians to mount and fix solar panels on PV projects of 100kW and larger – a job that had been performed by unskilled labourers and trades assistants.
Industry fought the rule from its inception, arguing that the new safety measure was a “ridiculous” overreach, and that it would cost jobs and blow out the costs and schedules of projects already under development. For projects in the planning stages, it threatened to rule them out completely, they said.
But it was the Brigalow solar farm that won the day. As we reported at the time, the Supreme Court found in Maryrorough Solar’s favour, and declared the government’s rule change “invalid” – a decision that was upheld up in a subsequent appeal – forcing the minister for industrial relations back to the negotiating table.
Welcome to the grid, Brigalow. More power to you! Credit for the chart, as always, goes to Paul McArdle from Global Roam, the providers of our popular NEM-Watch widget.