Plans to build a 183MW solar farm in Western Australia’s south west look set to be approved this week, when they go before the Mid-West/ Wheatbelt Joint Development Assessment Panel on Friday.
The $250 million Waroona Solar Farm is being developed near the town of the same name by Melbourne-based South Energy, with plans to add a battery storage of up to 20MW (the proposed battery system’s MWh storage capacity has not been stated).
The nearly 500,000 PV panels would use single axis tracking technology to get maximum exposure to the sun, but would also be spaced far enough apart, and high enough off the ground, to allow for continued agricultural uses, most likely sheep grazing.
According to the development assessment documents, it has been recommended that Mid-West/Wheatbelt JDAP approve the Waroona solar farm, subject to a number of fairly standard conditions.
South Energy is also working on plans to build a 100MW solar farm in W.A.’s Harvey Shire, with local council voting to allow the project to be advertised for public comment in September.
The smaller $150 million Benger Solar Farm is being proposed for development on around 187 hectares of farmland between Brunswick and Harvey, also in the state’s south west.
Western Australia is currently undergoing a boom in construction of large-scale renewable power plants, with the commencement of works for Risen Energy’s 100MW (AC) or 132MW (DC) Merredin solar farm in July.
Like the 207MW Collgar wind farm located nearby, the Merredin solar farm will be – at least for a while – the largest of its type in the state. And it will also likely have a battery at a later date added to ensure constant output during peak demand.
On top of this, some 560MW of new wind and solar farms have come on line in the state over the past year, and another 400MW of mostly wind is expected to be completed in the next 12 months.