A DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION has revealed that one of the country’s largest solar farms, intended for Bouldercombe, could power up to 60,000 houses.

Although the planned 700ha property on Cherryfield Rd is not utilised for grazing on a regular basis, it is regarded to be high-quality agricultural land.
According to the Rockhampton Regional Council application, the plan “would allow the underlying agricultural function of the site to be continued on a ‘as required’ basis.”

The plant’s solar panels will be mounted on galvanised steel piles that will be pushed or screwed into the earth.

They will tilt to follow the sun as it moves from east to west and will not be taller than 4m.

Only a portion of the land is appropriate for the panels, with panels estimated to cover one-third of the useable area.

An example of the solar panels that will be put in Bouldercombe. Contributed

It is recommended that the unused section of the property be utilised for grazing while the solar farm is walled off to protect the infrastructure from the cattle.

The panels themselves are meant to have low environmental impact, which means that after the facility is decommissioned, the site might be reverted to grazing pasture.

The farm will use an existing substation on the Burnett Highway frontage to deliver generated power into the electrical grid.

According to the proposal, “early estimates show the array will be in excess of 200MW and will provide over 284 GWh of power, which is adequate to service 50,000–60,000 Queensland dwellings.”

“The ultimate output will be determined by the type of panels obtained for the project as well as the final installed capacity.”

Bouldercombe’s proposed solar farm location. Contributed

During construction, limited heavy machinery will be required, resulting in minimum disruption to neighbouring homes.

A temporary site office, staggered delivery of shipping containers over a nine to twelve month period, pile driving equipment, trenching of underground cabling, and preparation and installation of the kiosk transformer and associated upgrade to existing distribution lines are all expected during construction.

The location will be accessible by an unidentified northern road reserve.

During the peak of development, the site is likely to receive six to eleven return vehicle journeys each day.

The site’s boundaries will be planted to reduce the visual impact on neighbouring residences and the roadway.

A 7m landscaping buffer with a mix of shrubs and higher trees is suggested for the Burnett Hwy border.

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