Luminous Energy approved for 300 MW in Australia

First Solar's modules will be used to power the Kidston Solar Project, which is to be integrated with a pumped hydro storage project.

The A$300 million ($226.8 million) project was approved by the Western Downs Regional Council, after a seven-week review process.

“It’s a massive project, not only in terms of economic benefit and local job creation but also in the flow-on business development opportunities for associated renewable energy industries,” said  Andrew Smith, spokesperson for the Western Downs Regional Council. “We’re serious about being known as the Energy Capital of Australia, and we’re open for business.

It will be built in three phases across 540 hectares of land between the towns of Miles and Chinchilla. The array will take about 18 months to build. Upon completion, it will  generate enough electricity annually to cater to the needs of about 110,000 homes, according to an online statement by the local authorities.

Luminous Energy has not yet revealed a PV module supplier for the project, which will create 400 construction jobs, in addition to another five to handle post-construction operations. It will be the fourth and biggest solar installation in the region.

In November, UK developer Eco-Energy World secured approval to proceed with the construction of a 20 MW plant in Chinchilla. And Sydney-based power group Origin Energy plans to start building a 200 MW array early this year in the nearby Darling Downs region.