Construction is will soon commence on a multi-million-dollar solar farm in south-west Queensland, creating 400 jobs, thanks to a sales deal with publicly-owned CS Energy.
On 28 August 2020, Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, the Hon. Dr Anthony Lynham, announced that Hana Financial Investment will build the 162 megawatt (MW) Columboola Solar Farm, to be located between Chinchilla and Miles. UK-based project developers Luminous Energy also recently announced financial close on the solar farm project and its concurrent sale to Hana.
“This project will mean another 400 jobs for the renewable energy powerhouse of the Western Downs, with construction to begin this month,” Dr Lynham said.
“With the government’s new renewable energy zone initiative for South-West Queensland, Columboola is set to be followed by ongoing new renewable energy projects and jobs.”
“Queensland is forecast to reach 20 per cent renewable generation this year and projects like this continue to drive us to our target of 50 per cent by 2030,” Dr Lynham commented.
The Columboola Solar Farm takes Queensland’s tally of financially committed or operational large-scale renewable energy projects to 41 since 2015.
Under the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), CS Energy will buy 100 per cent of the output of the solar farm and on-sell it to its large commercial and industrial retail customers, including Griffith University, CQUniversity and QUT.
CS Energy and Queensland’s two other publicly-owned generators, CleanCo and Stanwell, have now supported or own 1900 MW of renewable energy generation.
CS Energy CEO Andrew Bills said CS Energy was responding to the needs of large energy users like the universities by developing tailored solutions that met their needs in terms of energy usage, decarbonisation and energy management.
“Through this PPA, CS Energy continues to diversify our portfolio and offer our retail customers renewable generation as part of their energy supply,” Mr Bills said.
The Columboola Solar Farm will feature impressive solar technology such as bifacial panels that absorb light from both the front and the back, and single-axis trackers that follow the sun.
Contractor Stirling and Wilson will start construction on the solar farm this month and it is due to be completed by the end of next year.