Australia: Sunshine Coast to get 10 MW solar farm

The project outlines the transformation of the 50-hectare Valdora site into a state-of-the-art solar park sporting approximately 50,000 solar panels feeding power directly into the local grid for approximately 2,500 Sunshine Coast homes.

EPA Director, Jason Hague believes the project will not only generate local employment opportunities and significant economic benefits for the Coast, but will elevate the region as a leader in the development of green power solutions.

"The Sunshine Coast has a real opportunity to become a leading hub for the production and utilisation of clean tech products and services," said Hague. "If we want to change the way we operate and live up to the vision of being Australia’s most sustainable region, we need to embrace the technology and innovation available and do so on a scale that has real impact. There’s pressure on every level to deploy green energy options which can cater for the ever increasing energy needs of 21st century communities in Australia – politically, socially and environmentally. This solution can be rolled out on strategically located sites across the Coast and beyond to deliver real solutions to high demand locations."

The solar panels will span across 20 hectares of the cane land site with the surrounding 30 hectares being rehabilitated as green space to minimize impact on the local landscape. The EPA model is based on identifying appropriate sites and building several centralized energy parks across the Sunshine Coast that provide large scale photovoltaic (PV) deployments close to infrastructure and end user demand.

"This solution goes a long way to meet the council’s Energy Transition Plan endorsed in December 2010, which aspires for the Sunshine Coast to be a low carbon economy with council endeavoring to generate 40 megawatts (MW) of power from sustainable sources by 2015 and 100 MW by 2020," added Hague. "The Valdora Energy Park will be a 40 million plus Australian dollar venture and if successful in our application, we aim to develop local partnerships to deploy the technology on the site, thereby further delivering economic benefits for the region."

EPA has done extensive research into the viability of the project and the range of benefits for the Sunshine Coast including ongoing discussions with council. "Energy Parks Australia has had several meetings with various departments within the Sunshine Coast Council to discuss the project and to ensure their submission is of a high quality, comprehensive in scope and addresses the wide range of issues required to be considered during the DA (Development Application) process," said Michael Bismire, Manager of Planning Assessment at the council.