Proudly proposed by South Energy, an emerging Australian company that specialises in solar farm facility development, the Kennedys Creek Solar Farm is a utility scale renewable energy project that will operate over approximately 290 hectares of land.
The project will have a generation capacity of up to 145 megawatts, powering approximately 51,000 homes with electricity. Through production of clean energy, the project is expected to reduce Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions by 305,000 tonnes each year.
The project is envisaged to commence construction in 2021 and be fully operational by late 2022.
SOLAR FARM DESIGN
Kennedys Creek Solar Farm will comprise solar panels similar to those found on ordinary residential homes. Individual panels will be approximately 1m wide by 2m high and will be attached to single axis tracking systems that follow the sun from east to west, maximising sun exposure and power production.
Raised approximately 2m above the ground, the panels will be between 2 and 4m high, with maximum height reached early and late in the day, when the panels are tilted to capture the sun at its lowest. To avoid shading and enable access, the tracking systems will be spaced approximately 8m apart, which means they will only cover about half of the available land.
These large gaps between the solar panels (not to mention the 2m of space beneath them) can be put to agricultural uses such as sheep grazing. This practice has become commonplace globally, with sheep thriving in the sheltered conditions.
A landscape buﬀer will be provided along the project boundary to protect the area’s visual amenity. Landscaping will include a mix of indigenous shrubs and trees of varied heights and will have the added beneﬁt of creating important new habitats for native fauna, thus supporting the region’s biodiversity.
The solar farm will be set back from the boundary. This includes landscape buﬀering and an additional ﬁrebreak, which will double as an internal access track.
HOW WILL THE PROJECT OPERATE?
The project will feature solar panels that are very similar to the ones found at a residential home. The biggest differences are that the solar farm will have a larger generation size with solar panels mounted to single-axis tracking systems. These moving structures will follow the movement of the sun throughout the day, ensuring the panels are pointed directly for maximum efficiency as the sun moves from East to West.
The solar energy is then converted from Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC) via inverters. The power then travels through transformers where its voltage is stepped up to a suitable level before feeding into the electricity grid as well as the National Electricity Market (NEM). The NEM supports around 80% of the entire Australian population with electricity and is one of the largest electrical networks in the world.
Community support is always a key element for the success of the project and we understand that a large project such as Kennedys Creek Solar Farm may affect the local community in a variety of ways. This is why we have been constantly consulting the local residents, business owners and advocacy groups as well as Council and relevant authorities as part of the development journey.
To ensure all potential environmental impacts are identified and either avoided or properly mitigated, substantial engineering studies and environmental assessments have been undertaken. Some of the areas we look at include, but are not limited to:
- Ensuring the development will benefit the municipality in the long term;
- Management of cultural and heritage sites;
- Management of traffic conditions;
- Protecting the local ecology (both flora and fauna) by managing environmental risks;
- Surface water evaluations to ensure the integrity of the existing watercourse;
- Visual landscaping and using vegetation as natural screening from the surrounding area.
|Commence consultation and landowner agreement||Ongoing|
|Submit Development Application to The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning||Submitted|
|Commence construction (subject to Department approval)||2021|
|Kennedys Creek Solar Farm operational||2022|
|Reinstall full agricultural use or, if permitted, upgrade solar farm equipment||2050-2055|