The New South Wales (NSW) Department of Planning and Environment is working relentlessly in the run up to the holiday season, adding to the growing hub of large-scale solar projects in the state.
Last week alone, the department gave the green light to nearly 500 MW of solar PV, including: a massive solar+storage project at Darlington Point – a 275 MW solar farm coupled with 100 MWh energy storage facility, the 170 MW Suntop Solar Farm and the 47 MW Gregadoo Solar Farm.
The latest approval was granted to a $119 solar farm in Mulwala, near Albury.
The project was proposed by Esco Pacific, which currently has over 496 MW of projects under construction and more than 1.3 GW pipeline of projects under development across NSW, Queensland, and Victoria.
According to the environmental impact statement, the Mulwala solar farm will feature up to 300,000 solar panels in regular arrays and a battery storage area. It will feed electricity into the local network through a 132 kV substation.
It is expected that construction will take approximately eight months from initial site works through to commissioning. The project is anticipated to have a long operational life span of 40 years.
During construction there will be up to 130 staff and contractors employed, while during operations there will be up to four staff for maintenance and monitoring activities.
The Department said there were only two public objections to this proposal. One local community member raised concerns regarding land use compatibility, while one special interest group commented on the visual impacts as well as land use compatibility.
The project approval followed the release of a new Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline developed by the NSW government to lead applicants and the community through the assessment process for state significant solar farm proposals.