A 20MW solar energy plant in Queensland has managed to plug into the national electricity grid a month earlier than planned. It is one of the first projects of its kind to be funded by ARENA - Australia's Renewable Energy Agency.
Located in outback Queensland, the solar development will produce sufficient clean energy for around 10,000 average homes - and being in the outback, it will have no local resident complaints about visual disturbance
A Community-Owned Green Energy Scheme
The remote solar farm is owned by the Barcaldine community in the west outback of Queensland, and it shows how fast solar energy is growing in Australia. There are over a dozen new solar developments planned for the country next year, all of which will be large in scale and together be sufficient to power up to 150,000 homes with clean energy.
There will be six new solar plants in Queensland, one in Western Australia and five in New South Wales. All of them been funded by Arena, which is aiming to facilitate nearly a billion Australian dollars in private investment to boost local and regional economies.
The plant in Barcaldine has been privately funded by a group that includes a Spanish company, Elecnor. It was supported with $20 million of federal loans from the Australian 'clean bank' and $22 million of Arena-generated funding commitments.
The new plant has 78,000 solar PV panels and has seen enthusiastic local support due to the benefits that it will bring economically to the local and remote community. Arena has said that it will commit over one billion Australian dollars' worth of funding to progress over 270 green energy projects, with developers expected to privately match the level of investment.