$150,000 for solar farm electricity plan

07 Oct 2016 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Steve Kelly THE final phase of planning for a 20 megawatt solar farm at North Wangaratta will be carried out following a $100,000 grant from the State Government. Funding from government will be coupled with another $150,000 from Countrywide Energy so a study can be done with electricity supplier SP Ausnet to gauge how best to accommodate energy coming into the grid. CWE hopes to have the first sod of the project turned by the end of this year and the first power from the solar farm is due to be supplied by the end of 2017. The $35 million project will be located on crown land which will be leased by Countrywide Energy that runs adjacent to the Hume Freeway. It will provide enough energy to power the North Wangaratta Industrial Estate. CWE director Geoff Drucker said other reports have already been completed such as a glint and glare study to ensure the thousands of solar panels will not have an impact on nearby freeway traffic. Most of the solar panels are on a tracking system so they generate more power, and with this the glint and glare will be prevented, he said. Other studies that have been completed are an Aboriginal and Indigenous overlay, with historical and vegetation reports as well. The solar farm will be one of the largest in Victoria once built, generating enough energy to power 5000 homes. Up to 90 jobs will be created during the farms construction, with up to 10 ongoing maintenance jobs as well. Energy is currently costequivalent but CWE will guarantee CPI over the next 25 years, rather than businesses being at the markets mercy with network and energy prices changing. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria), who announced the funding, said she was pleased to see innovative ideas for projects that support a clean energy future and help position Victoria as a leader in new energy technologies. We are determined to grow clean energy jobs and business opportunities that benefit our local communities in country Victoria, Ms Symes said. Caption Text: CLEAN ENERGY: Countrywide Energy directors Geoff Drucker (left) with Leigh Newbery and Wangaratta council administrator Ailsa Fox in front of the proposed solar farm site opposite North Wangarattas Industrial Estate. Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.