Plans to build a large-scale solar and battery storage plant in the central western New South Wales city of Orange have been submitted to the local council by the Australian arm of ITP Renewables.
The development application, published for exhibition last week by the Orange City Council, details plans for 5MWW of solar PV and a 5MWh battery energy storage system.
Dubbed the Orange Community Renewable Energy Park, ITP Renewables says the project, proposed for development around 6km north-west of the town centre of Orange, would supply roughly 12GWh) of electricity a year to the Essential Energy grid.
The company said the 16,000-module project would be designed to have minimal visual impact by surrounding it with trees “planted to make the solar farm practically imperceptible and unobservable from adjacent areas.”
The $7 million solar farm is expected to create up to 50 jobs during construction and another two to three permanent local jobs, ITP said.
The solar farm appears to be the first of its kind for Orange, which falls into the first of three renewable energy zones designated by the NSW government as development hot-spots for big solar and wind.
Nearby, Infigen energy’s Flyers Creek wind farm has been approved as has Terrain Solar’s Molong project, and Epuron’s Mumbil solar farm. Already in operation are Tilt Renewables’ wind farm near Blayney and New Energy Solar’s PV plant at Manildra.
It is unclear what the “Community” part of the project entails. ITP Renewables told RenewEconomy that it could not go into any further detail on the project until it had agreement from all parties.
The small size of the project, however, and the addition of battery storage, fit with a growing trend in the large-scale solar industry towards smaller, “smarter” regional PV projects that can get around problems of grid congestion and maximise the benefits of cheap generation more directly for the local community.