Plans to build an 80MW solar farm with a 20MW battery storage system in Yass in south-eastern New South Wales have gained modest ground this week, after land was secured for the proposed state significant project.
The developers of the Yass solar farm, Tetris Energy, confirmed that it had agreed to lease about 55 hectares of land for a period of 30 years from fourth-generation farmers the McClung family, to build the project next to a TransGrid substation.
“We selected this site based on the strength of the connection network compared to other regions,” Tetris director Frank Boland told RenewEconomy on Tuesday, noting that the project was still in the relatively early stages of planning and grid connection approval processes.
But securing land next to an existing substation, and with the blessings of a well established local family, is a good start.
According to a report in About Regional on the weekend, the McClung family has been keen to lease the land adjoining the substation to a renewable energy project for some years, for both environmental and economic reasons.
“The return on the land [from the solar farm] is far greater than running cattle,” Ian McClung told About Regional, which reported that the family also hopes to work with Tetris on a subsidised solar rollout to Yass Valley residents.
“[We aim to develop] some kind of incentive to help everyone in the Yass Valley switch to solar,” said McClung.
For Tetris Energy – a subsidiary of Tetris Capital – the Yass solar project is a step up from its previous efforts, including the 3MW Streaky Bay and 5MW Coonalpyn solar farms in South Australia that were acquired by Flow Power, and the 12.5MW each Batchelor and Manton Dam solar farms near Darwin in the Northern Territory, which Tetris sold to ENI last year.
Boland said the size of the Yass solar farm was decided on based on the optimal capacity into the TransGrid substation. Tetris is hoping to have an investment decision on the project next year, he said.