With less than 48 hours left in 2018, the Australian state government of New South Wales approved construction for the 900 megawatt (MW) Yarrabee Solar Project, which will be one of the country’s largest solar farms.
Being developed by Australian solar developer Reach Solar Energy, the 900 MW Yarrabee Solar Project is set to be built in Yarrabee Park, located in the southwest of New South Wales. To be built in 300 MW phases, the Yarrabee Solar Project will use solar PV panels on a six-axis tracking system and will include an energy storage system to assist connection to the grid.
Reach Solar Energy hope that the AU$1 billion project will provide the equivalent electricity for 315,000 homes and generate up to 600 jobs during construction. The project, upon completion, will step in as the largest solar farm in New South Wales. Reach is also behind the 275 MW Bungala Solar Project – Australia’s currently largest completed solar farm, located in South Australia, which began generating electricity in March 2018.
“When built, this new solar farm will have the capacity to power a city nearly twice the size of Newcastle,” said NSW Minister for Energy, Don Harwin, welcoming the project’s approval. “The project will significantly increase our energy capacity while contributing to a cleaner energy future for our state – a win-win.”
“Reach Solar is very pleased with the recent consent for its proposed 900MWac Yarrabee Solar Project near Narrandera,” said David Webster of Reach Solar Energy. “We have received excellent support from the local community and will work with Shire of Narrandera in developing employment strategies for local residences.
“Narrandera is in a region with excellent solar yield and relatively robust access to the transmission network. Our project will be designed to assist the grid. Reach Solar is targeting financial close on the first stage of the project by mid-2019, and first generation of electricity in mid-2020.”
New South Wales currently only has 500 MW worth of wind solar operational across nine large-scale solar farms, including six new projects representing 305 MW which were commissioned in 2018. The state also boasts another seven solar farms under construction which total 530 MW, and almost 70 more solar farms with, or seeking planning approval in New South Wales with potential capacity totaling 10,000 MW.
The future of solar in New South Wales has been further emboldened by the release by the NSW Government of a Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline which is intended to lead applications and the community through the assessment process for state significant solar farm proposals.
“The NSW Large Scale Solar Guideline provides clear guidance on the environmental and social impacts of state significant solar energy projects, encouraging early and continued consultation, and suitable site selection,” said Don Harwin. “The new guideline reflects the NSW Government’s strong commitment to NSW’S booming solar energy market.”