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$1bn solar farm set to be built in Qld

13 February, 2015

What is set to be the nation's largest solar farm, worth $1 billion, will be built in Toowoomba, Queensland.

Toowoomba Regional Council approved the construction of the mammoth 5000 hectare site earlier in the week, with construction proposed to commence sometime next year.

When operational, the farm will be capable of generating 2000 megawatts (MW), which is more power than any coal-fired power station in the state.

"Mind-bogglingly large"

Angus Gemmel, managing director of the farm's developer Solar Choice said the project's approval was a "milestone", after an 18-month period of negotiation. He said the site, which is at present pasture land, was picked for its proximity to the major Powerlink substation, allowing it to be connected to the national electricity grid.

"It's almost mind-bogglingly large, just the width of the project is eight kilometres – that's a lot of panels," he said.

"It's soaked in sunshine, there's great irradiance levels west of the Great Divide."

RET uncertainty

Gemmel said political uncertainty on the renewable energy target had been hindering the project's development.

"Whilst we are certainly well advanced with global investors for the fully equipped solar farm, they understandably are awaiting regulatory certainty on the renewable energy target," he said.

"Hopefully we won't be the first country to diminish the target, and we're hoping the bipartisan support that renewable energy once enjoyed at the federal level will remain."

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