NGH

Renewable Newstead Solar Farm

A unique community solar farm in Central Victoria

Project

Client:
Newstead 2021 Inc

Location:
Newstead, Victoria

Author:
Fi Cotter

Principal Planner - Queensland and Victoria

Newstead Solar Farm project is the result of over a decade of work of committed locals, engaging with their community about a unique local energy proposition.

Our planning skills assisted the group to identify and short-list potential sites, select the winner, then navigate the approvals process through to construction commencement.

Renewable Newstead and Flow Power, in partnership with the then Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP), are embarking on a ground-breaking initiative that aims to produce renewable energy in Victoria. This initiative will consist of a 3MW solar farm and a 5MWh battery energy storage system. The battery system will be able to provide power to the grid during low sunshine and outside daylight hours.

The project will be located on a 6.2 hectare site, featuring 80-100m rows of panels with a tracking system to maximise energy production. The solar panels will be installed 6m apart, ensuring the most efficient use of the land. The unique aspect of this project is the Direct Current (DC) coupled system, which is a first for Victoria.

It takes a village

We worked closely with Renewable Newstead to identify the ideal site for the project, lodging the planning application and ensuring that all necessary documentation was provided to the then DELWP Renewables team for an informed decision-making process. We assisted with community and agency engagement which was an integral part of the process, ensuring that clear and accurate information was provided.

During the planning phase, there were a number of submissions regarding the project. However, none of them wholly opposed the project, and most sought clarification regarding management arrangements around landscaping and fire protection, for example. This is a terrific result in itself.

Fi Cotter

Renewable Newstead solar farm

The project site is situated on the traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung people, and as such, a Cultural Heritage Management Plan has been developed to guide the care of this Country during the construction and operation of the energy project.

The construction of the project is expected to take approximately nine months, with the energy project set to be operational by July 2023. The successful completion of this project will make a significant contribution towards Victoria’s energy transition efforts, and the use of renewable energy will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the environment.

Contact Fi Cotter to learn more about community renewable energy projects.

Fi Cotter

Principal Planner - Queensland and Victoria

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