Council investing in 5-megawatt solar farm for clean energy future
Published on 31 May 2019
Council’s plans for a huge 5-megawatt solar farm next to the Resource Recovery Centre at Myocum on Dingo Lane took a leap forward at the May Council meeting when $465,000 was committed to get the planning, design and tender process underway.
Once constructed, the new solar farm would generate enough electricity to offset Council’s power usage and send additional renewable power to put back in to the grid.
“It’s no surprise that I am extremely excited by the scale of this project and the benefits it will deliver to our community.
“This will be the biggest solar farm this side of the range in NSW by a very long shot,” Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson said.
“To give you some idea of the size - five megawatt solar farms can generate enough electricity for around 1000 households.
“Our plan is to use the energy generated by this solar farm to help Council achieve 100% net zero emissions by 2025 and to be a leader in the region, and NSW, with renewable energy solutions for the future.
“This is a serious project with the proposed solar farm to be built on approximately 13 hectares of land that is currently buffer land adjacent to the Byron Resource Recovery Centre,” he said.
The solar panels will occupy 6.3 hectares of the 73.53 hectare property.
“The allocation of $465,000 in the 2019/20 budget is a substantial investment and this means that once this initial feasibility work is done, we can immediately move straight into stage two which will be the actual construction of the solar farm.
“The protection of the environment is a major consideration for our residents, and Councillors and staff, so to be able to turn this project from a concept, to something that is delivering immense benefit by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and using beautiful solar energy to power our organisation is a great outcome on so many levels.
“This will save money in the long-run which in turn is a saving for our ratepayers and it is a key component identified in our Net Zero Emissions Strategy for Council Operations 2025,” Mayor Richardson said.
“People may also be interested to know that in the next several months we will be installing a solar roof on the carpark next to the Council offices in Mullumbimby with this project expected to generate power to help offset Council’s energy charges and also contribute to reducing Council’s net emissions,” he said.
Site studies and the procurement processes required to determine the detailed feasibility of the solar farm will progress during the next 12 months, including engagement with key stakeholders including neighbouring residents at Myocum. Based on the recent report to Council, and subject to the necessary approvals, construction could start around September 2020, with estimates for practical completion slated for May 2021.
For interviews contact Simon Richardson, Byron Shire Mayor, on 0427 076 834, or Michael Matthews, Council’s Manager Open Spaces & Resource Recovery on 6626 7077.