Solar farm plans open to public

A solar company with plans to establish a 70 megawatt, 141-hectare solar park on the outskirts of Morwell will hold an information evening for community members at Kernot Hall on April 16.

While the project has not yet made it to the final stages of planning, ARP Australian Solar said the project would be a hybrid solar and battery farm that would generate electricity to export back to and relieve stress on the grid.

ARP Australian solar director George Hughes said the proposed solar farm would generate enough energy to power about 16,800 homes and would reduce the amount of CO2 produced in generating this energy by approximately 21,000 tonnes a year, compared to fossil fuels.

"Construction would take about nine months to complete, and we're looking at creating well over 100 jobs [during construction], ranging from solar installers, to electricians, fencing contractors and ground," he said.

"As part of the public consultation process, on Monday night we would look to have a number of forms where contractors could sign up to be part of the tender process or to supply materials.

"There would also be a number of ongoing jobs ... involving security, electrical testing, monitoring and what have you."

Mr Hughes said the tallest panel would be 2.4 metres tall and there would be no buildings in the field and very little concrete.

"We're looking to have as little impact as possible and work with what is already there," he said.

"We don't want to remove any agricultural productive land, so we looked for grazed land and identified a site which is grazed and will continue to be grazed throughout the life of the project.

"Sheep can be beneath the panels. That is very important, not removing the land from production."

Mr Hughes said it was important public consultation took place before final plans were submitted to council.

"If people have comments or thoughts, we have the ability to listen to those," he said.

"With everything going according to plan, we're looking to start construction in January or February next year, early 2019."

The public information evening will be held on Monday from 4.30pm-6.30pm at Kernot Hall, Morwell.

For more information, contact info@ARPAustralianSolar.com.au.

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