THIS is what a 250 hectare solar power plant looks like.
This photo is from the Nyngan Solar Plant, completed in mid-2015, it covers the equivalent of more than 300 rugby league fields.
And, soon this could be the view Brewongle residents will see if a proposed solar power plant is approved.
Since Photon Energy Australia announced in September that it was planning to build a 146 MWp capacity solar power plant on a site seven kilometres south-east of Bathurst, many residents have spoken out against the $145 million development’s approval.
While the Brewongle site is slightly smaller at 203ha, compared to the 250ha Nyngan plant, it is still equivalent to more than 250 rugby league fields.
Once complete, the Brewongle site will be home to an estimated 397,576 north-facing photovoltaic (PV) panels, each measuring around two metres by one metre.
The Brewongle Solar Farm will save 193,316 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, by comparison the Nyngan site (which is not operated by Photon) saves more than 195,720 tonnes.
A Photon Energy spokesman said a number of sites were assessed in the Bathurst region before settling on the site next to Saltwater Creek, under the existing high voltage power lines on the site of a gas pipeline and adjacent to the railway line.
The spokesman would not confirm how many sites were assessed, but said: “Potential sites to the north and west of Bathurst were too hilly to make a solar farm viable”.
The equivalent of more than 250 rugby league fields of solar panels will be placed at the proposed Brewongle Solar Farm.
“To the east of Bathurst, the land is densely vegetated and also steep. Hills create shadowing which significantly lowers solar energy production.
“There was no existing high voltage transmission line in several other areas to the south of Bathurst.”
The spokesman said the Brewongle site’s gradual undulating country will benefit neighbouring farms.
“[This] minimises site lines to the six neighbouring farms, and through the use of vegetative boundaries, the solar farm will be screened from view,” he said.
The Brewongle Solar Farm project has been deemed a State Significant Development with the approvals process to be conducted by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, rather than Bathurst Regional Council.
If plans are approved, the installation will take 18 months, with the power plant expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2019.
Photon Energy’s spokesperson said the company was always open to community feedback on the project and encouraged people to email questions or comments to email@example.com.
“We are currently working through feedback we have received and are planning our engagement activities from November through to March,” he said.
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