Clermont Solar Farm connects to the grid in Queensland

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The 89MW Clermont Solar Farm, north of Emerald in Queensland, has begun sending power to the grid – just as the state’s big solar industry gets some good news.

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The 89MW Clermont Solar Farm located near the town of the same name, north of Emerald in Queensland has begun sending power to the grid.

The Wirsol-owned project has not had the smoothest run up to production, as one of the five Queensland solar farms directly affected by the collapse of engineering giant RCR Tomlinson.

As we reported at the time, workers were pulled from Clermont and four other projects late last year, following the company’s collapse and the appointment of McGrathNicol as administrators.

But the single axis project, which was underwritten by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, is now complete and has been sending solar electricity to the grid since last week – as you can see in the chart below from Paul McArdle at Global Roam, providers of RE’s popular NEM Watch widget.

The arrival of Clermont on the grid follows that of two separate Queensland solar farms late last month: Adani Renewables’ long delayed 65MW Rugby Run project near Moranbah; and the 100MW first stage of Pacific Hydro’s Haughton solar farm, south of Townsville.

As Giles Parkinson noted then, those projects were just two among a number of largely completed solar projects – including Clermont – queuing up for the OK to begin production in the Sunshine State.

Another large solar project, the 250MW Aldoga solar farm near Gladstone, won planning approval from the state government in late May.

The good news for projects like Aldoga is that the Queensland government’s efforts to introduce controversial new rules requiring licensed electricians to mount and fix PV panels on projects larger than 100kW have again been stymied, this time by the Court of Appeal.

As we report here, the Court of Appeal revealed on Tuesday that it was upholding the previous decision of the Queensland Supreme Court, that had judged the solar rule change invalid, in a case brought by the managers of the 35MW Brigalow Solar Farm.

That party had argued that the rule change would add around $2.6 million to the cost of its relatively small PV project – under development in southeast Queensland – and would require around 60 licensed electricians to be hired in place of local labourers.

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