Solar farm development shines light on Council climate action

Published on 27 November 2019

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Nillumbik Shire Council is leading the charge on climate action with a proposal to develop a solar farm on the former Plenty landfill site.

At its Ordinary Meeting of Council on 26 November 2019, Council resolved to progress with the development of a solar farm at the Yan Yean Road, Plenty, site.

The solar farm could provide up to 5MW of green electricity, capable of supplying all of Council’s annual electrical power consumption requirements. It would be the largest of its type on a landfill site in the greater Melbourne metropolitan area.

Mayor Karen Egan said: "Council is committed to being a leader in climate change action and supporting the renewable energy economy.

"Developing a solar farm on a former landfill site, that otherwise has limited potential uses, would be of great benefit to the community and assist Council to significantly offset its greenhouse gas emissions.

"We estimate this to be about 8200 tonnes per annum, which is equivalent to taking about 2000 cars off the road.

"The system itself is about the size of 1000 large residential rooftop solar systems.

"We are also exploring solar farm development opportunities that will provide cost savings to Council and our ratepayers over the life of the project," she said.

A study recently commissioned by Council investigated the technical viability of developing a large-scale solar farm at the former Plenty and Kangaroo Ground landfill sites. It found the Plenty site was the most feasible and therefore the preferred location to be considered by Council in further detail.

The study involved understanding the initial implications of developing, funding and operating a large-scale solar farm.

Council will now seek to engage with the solar farm development market, including examining options such as battery storage, potential community investment opportunities and power purchasing agreements for Council to buy back electricity from energy retailers.

Community consultation on the proposal will begin in early 2020.

A further report on the proposal will be prepared for Council’s consideration in 2020 before any decisions are made on proceeding with the project.