Council approval for 81 MW Atherton Solar Farm in Far North Queensland

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The project, set to installation on 126 hectares of family owned land, is wholly owned by NESI Australia, a subsidiary of Qingdao New Energy Solutions Inc with over 1 GW of solar PV energy generation worldwide, focused mainly in China.

The 81MW Atherton Solar Farm, which is expected to generate 158GWh annually at peak capacity, will utilise DC multicrystalline modules. The fixed panel structure, along with the modules 15-degree incline, non-reflective (low glare) glass and a 3-4 meter high screen of surrounding vegetation are designed to reduce the visibility and impact of the project on nearby residences. Such conciliatory measures were likely required for the project’s approval as the application process has not been particularly smooth.

Tablelands Deputy Mayor Katrina Mellick even voted against the project’s approval citing the good quality of agricultural land the site would occupy. Like almost every major solar project, the site retains the option to be returned to agricultural use in the future.

With development approval haveng been acquired, the development will look to begin construction in Q3 2019. The expected construction period is 14-months. It is not yet known whether the project will incorporate a battery storage.