Solar farm plans progressing

A PROPOSED $50 million solar farm near Maffra is still progressing.

Plans have been finalised for the Maffra Solar park and sent to Wellington Shire Council, with a decision expected soon.

The original layout was revised following a community consultation session, which required the plans to be re-advertised before approval.

A spokesperson for the company, ARP Australian Solar, said grid studies had been successfully completed.

“The project is on target to meet the expected electrification in early 2019,” the spokesperson said.

Stakeholder and community consultation had been positive so far, with a glint and glare report supplied following questions from RAAF Base East Sale.

As previously reported, the $50 million project will supply about 30 megawatts of power using 100,000 solar panels on 60.7 hectares near Brewers Hill Rd.

The panels would be 1.6 metres square, fixed onto aluminium supports in the ground.

The panels would stand high enough off the ground to allow for livestock to graze, the company aiming to reduce the environmental impact of the development.

Only small amounts of concrete would be used, which can be removed at the end of the farm’s 30-year life span.

The location was chosen because it is close to a sub-station.

Proponents say the project could create more than 100 local jobs during development and construction.

The company is keen to hear from any businesses with the necessary skills to work on the project.

Those interested should email info@arpaustraliansolar.com.au

Other proposed alternative energy projects on the drawing board in Gippsland include a massive $8 billion windfarm in Commonwealth waters off Port Albert, and a multi-million dollar waste to energy project in the Latrobe Valley.

Defence was approached for comment regarding the solar farm project, but had not responded by deadline.

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DEFENCE was provided an opportunity to comment on the proposed solar farm near the RAAF Base, East Sale and raised no objections.

“Following the assessment of the proposed location and the performance characteristics of modern solar panels it was determined that the farm would not present a significant hazard to flying through glint or glare,” a spokesperson said.

Should the proposal go ahead, 100,000 solar panels will be installed in a paddock north of Maffra, supplying about 30 megawatts of electricity.

The $50 million project, from ARP Australian Solar, is currently waiting for the go-ahead from Wellington Shire Council, following community consultation sessions and meetings with stakeholders, including Defence.