Global energy provider X-ELIO celebrated the launch of its Blue Grass Solar Farm, located in Queensland’s Western Downs, 14km from Chinchilla.
The official ribbon-cutting event will be attended by key project partners, local council and community members, and other industry representatives.
The 200MW solar farm is one of Queensland’s 50 large-scale renewable projects and will help support the State Government’s Renewable Energy Target (QRET) to generate 70% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2032, and 80% by 2035, which was recently announced as part of The Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.
The farm is expected to deliver 420 GWh green energy annually, offsetting more than 320,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and powering 80,000 home across the state.
Four hundred local jobs were created during the solar farm’s two-year construction, with the project delivering a more than $200 million investment in the state of Queensland.
The Blue Grass Solar Farm leverages advanced technology including 375,000 bifacial solar panels and half-cut cells, enhancing performance and efficiency to help decrease the cost of solar and support Australia’s 2050 net zero ambitions.
The project’s construction and grid connection was supported by first-tier renewable and transmission specialists, including Gransolar Group (GRS), Ingeteam and Powerlink.
It received financial backing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), ING, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), and has established long-term support from first-tier offtakers Salesforce, Stanwell Corporation and Australia’s only 1.5 ℃ electricity retailer, ZEN Energy.
Four local community initiatives will also be awarded with funding at the event from the Blue Grass Community Support and Benefit Sharing Fund, which allocates a percentage of the project’s income to local community projects.
Recipients of the funding include the Resourcing Country District Instrumental Music Program, which will provide musical instruments to students of over 400 schools throughout the region; the Friends of Illoura Village which will purchase an accessible bus to transport the elderly and disabled around the local community; the Western Downs Emergency Services Unit which will establish a Mobile Emergency Operations Centre trailer “Ruby” to support future SES operations in remote locations; and a Local Parents Association which will oversee the fencing of a local park located next to the Warrego Highway.
Belinda Fan, X-ELIO’s Country Manager in Australia, said: “We’re thrilled to be celebrating the official opening of the Blue Grass Solar Farm – X-ELIO’s first solar project in Australia.
“The completion of this project reflects the dedication and ingenuity of our local team, as well as the ongoing support of our esteemed partners and the broader Western Downs community.
“We’re proud that the Blue Grass Solar Farm is among Queensland’s 50 large-scale renewable projects, coming online at an opportune time to help support the state Government’s clean energy ambitions.
“We’d like to think of this project as a small but important step in the State’s march to net zero.
“It’s also incredibly gratifying to be able to use this occasion to recognise local community initiatives with funding from our Community Support and Benefit Sharing Fund, which demonstrates X-ELIO’s commitment to supporting the socio-economic development of the communities in which we operate around the world.”