Largest solar plant in Australia approved in Queensland

The largest proposed solar farm in Australia, and possibly the world, has been granted planning approval in Queensland, leading to potential increases in demand and innovation across the renewable energies industry.

Solar Choice has been working on the initial stages of the proposed Bulli Creek Solar Farm for the past 18 months. On February 9, the company received approval from the Toowoomba Regional Council for a expansion of more than 2 gigawatts over the next eight years. This means the farm will then stretch across 13,000 acres of land in Southern Queensland.

According to reports, the Bulli Creek project is already attracting interest from a range of international investors, who are prepared to make medium- and long-term investments in the plans. 

Solar power is a massive industry in Australia, with falling manufacturing and development costs in the sector making the renewable energy option more accessible to businesses and consumers. Currently, over 4 gigawatts (at peak generation capacity) of solar panels are installed on more than a million Australian roofs, contributing around 7 per cent of the country's electricity.

"We believe that large-scale solar is on the right side of history – it's not a matter of if these projects will be built, but when," Solar Choice Managing Director Angus Gemmell told RenewEconomy this month.

Currently, a number of smaller solar projects are on the go across Australia, including a 20-megawatt farm in the ACT, while a 1-gigawatt farm is being considered by the Whitsundays Regional Council.

Although unlikely to be in construction until next year, the Bulli Creek Solar Farm could be built in incremental phases to keep manufacturing costs down. This means the companies signing onto the project may potentially enjoy a long-term contract, requiring huge amounts of renewable energy products and equipment to move forward to completion.

Designing or manufacturing for the alternative energies industry? Contact us  at SOLIDWORKS to see how we can help inspire engineering innovation and improve every aspect of your product development.