Two Spanish companies have proposed the development of what could be Queensland’s largest solar farm in the central-western town of Barcaldine – although it will have to compete with a range of other projects that all also being considered.
ABC News Online reports that the two companies – Kingsway Europe and the Australian arm of Elecnor – revealed their plans at a public meeting in the town on Tuesday night.
The duo have formed a company called Barcaldine Remote Community Solar Farm that would plan and develop the project of around 24MW, at cost of around $55 million, and which is expected to generate 53,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy each year.
Joseph de Pedro, from Elecnor, said Barcaldine was singled out as the ideal location for a solar farm due to the quality of sun in the area, and because it already had a gas-fired power station and suitable power infrastructure.
“We also own two satellites in orbit, so we have done cartography studies and planning studies of different regions, and Barcaldine offers one of the best radiation spots in the world,” de Pedro said.
“The other closest spot would be the Atacama Desert in northern part of Chile.”
The companies said they hoped to start work on the plant early next year, provided approvals and finance were in place by that time.
“We are going to be installing approximately 80,000 panels. We have got here approximately 35 hectares, so about 80 per cent of this land is going to be covered with solar panels,” de pedro said.
“The capability of this power plant is to provide electricity for more than 7,000 homes.”
He said 100 jobs would be created during the construction phase, which would last about a year.
“We would rather employ those people locally, in preference to bringing them in from Brisbane, or Sydney or anywhere else for that matter,” he said.
A range of other solar projects are also being considered in western Queensland, including a mega project that could total more than 2GW west of Toowoomba, and another solar project in a portfolio now owned by Canadian Solar. Both projects have received approval from their local councils.