South East Queensland has become part of the renewable shift, with a range of solar farms producing, or preparing to produce, large amounts of renewable energy.
Unlike small scale residential or medium scale commercial solar, designed to produce kilowatts of energy, solar farms are large scale solar installations that produce power in the megawatts.
The panels are ground mounted, instead of roof mounted, and take up large tracts of land, often into the hundreds or thousands of hectares. Despite their size, most solar farms require minimal human input and maintenance, and provide long term power solutions.
The solar from these farms is either sold back into the grid, on contract to a solar retailer, or to a company with heavy energy usage.
Darling Downs Solar Farm
Completed in 2018 and located near Dalby, this 110 megawatt solar farm was supported by a $20 million Government grant and is comprised of 430,000 solar panels across 250 hectares. It’s contracted to sell its energy to Origin Energy till the end of 2030. It is located on Graham’s road, beside the Darling Downs Power station at Kogan.
Dalby Solar Farm
Recently completed by Renewable Energy Systems (RES) and comprising 75,000 solar panels on 45 hectares, and a capacity of up to 20MW. The solar farm is located on the Warrego Highway just outside of Dalby.
Oakey Solar Farm
There are two sections to the solar farm at Okey, with the first 25 megawatt section beginning production in 2019 and the second 55 megawatt section expected to reach commissioning in 2021. The project was built by Canadian Solar and will total over 150 hectares and 88,200 panels when both stages are complete.
Chinchilla Solar Farm
With over 250,000 First Solar thin film panels generating a proposed 100 megawatt, this western farm is expected to begin commercial operations in early 2021.
Western Downs Green Power Hub
This proposed solar farm near Chinchilla, is set to be Australia’s biggest to date. With a proposed 460 megawatts of renewable energy the hub will be managed by CleanCo, and construction is set to begin in late 2020, with connection to the existing Western Downs substation in 2022.
Warwick Solar Farm
Owned by the University of Queensland, this solar farm helped the University become the first major educational institution in the world to offset 100 percent of their electricity use through their own renewable energy assets. Coming in at a respectable 64 megawatts, and formally opened in July 2020, it will also be used as a research and training facility.
Yarranlea Solar Farm
Located approximately 50km west of Toowoomba, this solar farm is slated to have an approximate 100 megawatt production. The farm is currently producing power, and is anticipated to reach full output in late 2020.
Bulli Creek Solar Farm
Located approximately 35km west of Millmerran, the Bulli Creek Solar Farm is being constructed by First Solar and is expected to reach completion in early 2021. The Solar Farm will feature an anticipated 1200 megawatts, totalling over 3 million solar panels. Due to its size, it is being built in stages, and is expected to generate 300 construction jobs, as well as ongoing fulltime positions once construction is complete.
Harlin Solar Farm
This proposed solar farm will feature 1500 megawatts of energy across 2,055 hectares in the Somerset region. Community feedback about the project has lead to delays in construction, so there’s no specific timeline on its construction or when it will begin production.
Columboola solar farm
A 162 megawatt solar farm is set to be built at Columboola, near Miles. RES Australia was appointed as the construction and asset manager by South Korea-based owners Hana Financial Investment in late 2020. No date is currently set for the farm to begin production.