Australian ‘rooftop solar capital’ goes large-scale with approval of 100 MW solar farm


The Banksia Solar Farm is being proposed by Venn Artibir Pty Ltd to built on land at 249 Lambs Road and 51 Buxton Road, Isis River, on a subject site of just over 200 hectares. The solar farm will install PV panels on single access trackers as well as permanent operation facilities. Provisional plans for a “water cooled cube-type unit” battery are included in the approved application, though the decision to install a battery is expected to be finalised at a later date and will be subject to council approval.

With a generation capacity of 100 MW, the solar farm will be placed “immediately adjacent” to Ergon Energy’s Isis substation, connecting via a new 132kV transmission line. “This reduces transmission losses between the solar farm and the substation given the short length (approx. 800m) of overhead transmission line required to be constructed to connect the project to the substation,” the application reads.

“The project has been scaled based on discussion with Ergon (owner of the substation) and to ensure the project is optimised to lower the cost of delivering renewable energy to the grid and the community,” the application adds.

Banksia Solar Farm will be located about 60km south of Bundaberg and 10km south of Childers

Bundaberg Regional Council

The proposed site is only a few kilometres from the Childers Solar Farm, which began operations in 2019. Despite being light on large-scale solar projects, Bundaberg has been deemed Australia’s “rooftop solar capital” after a topping the Clean Energy Council’s list of the nation’s most solar-friendly suburbs. As SolarQuotes notes, Bundaberg has about 46 solar panel systems per 100 dwellings, well above the national average of 28 – affording the region a capacity of about 963 watts per person – nearly double the national average of 544 watts.

Bundaberg was also approved to be home to Australia’s first “hydrogen hub” last year. Given the green light in September, Bundaberg is the preferred site for a $300 million large-scale green hydrogen plant which will produce green fuel and assemble zero waste vehicles.

Lodged in August of last year, Bundaberg Regional Council Development Group Manager, Michael Ellery, noted the development would be one of the biggest solar farms to pass the Council’s desk for approval. “It will easily service over 20,000 households,” Ellery told local news outlet, Bundabergnow.

The Banksia Solar Farm is will have a lifespan of 40 years, after which site will be returned to agricultural land. The proposed site spans two properties, both of which are freehold tenure, in

what’s classed as a Rural Zone – meaning the proposal is subject to Code Assessment.

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