How long does it take to build a solar farm?
For a 100 MW power plant, an 8 to 12-month timeframe is typical, with a peak construction period of 2 to 3 months.
A large project like Eglinton will take around 12 to 18 months to construct with a peak construction period of 5 to 8 months.
What technology does Neoen use to build its solar farms?
The Eglinton Solar Farm will use premium quality solar panels and battery technology provided by leading manufacturers, selected through a competitive process. All components come with long warranty periods; solar panels and inverters are generally warrantied for 20 to 25 years.
What is the life cycle of a solar farm?
Depending on the local environment, the panels can generate electricity for 30 years or more with only about 0.5% efficiency loss each year.
How does solar generation work?
Inverters regulate the accumulation of electricity from a selection of solar panels and at the substation the electricity is distributed to the grid.
The angle at which the light hits the panel relates to the amount of energy that can be harvested from it, which is why tracking systems help to optimise solar generation.
How high are solar panels?
Most solar panels are 1m x 2m in size.
Arrays of solar panels are usually 30, 60 or 90 m long.
Rows of panels are separated by 5 to 7m. However, this can vary from project to project. Depending on project and on the time of the day the height of rows is between 1.5 to 2.9m for rows spaced by 5 to 7 meters.
How do you stop the solar facilities from impacting our landscape?
Will the solar panels generate glare?
Do solar farms benefit the Australian/local economy?
Each project benefits the local community by creating employment.
At Neoen’s Coleambally Solar Farm 300 people were employed locally during the construction phase and five people are now employed locally in full-time positions during operations.
Neoen provides opportunities for local contractors to submit tenders and local jobseekers to seek employment by hosting a series of contractor sessions in the local area prior to any construction commencing. In addition, Neoen establishes Community Benefit-sharing Program to deliver benefits to the local community.
How much do renewables cost compared with other energy sources?
- Existing coal: approximately $40 per megawatt hour
- Combined gas-cycle: approximately $75 per megawatt hour
- New coal: approximately $130 per megawatt hour
Who pays for any transmission upgrades required?
Do solar farms result in a decrease in electricity prices?
Does Neoen require government subsidies to build its projects?
Neoen does not require government subsidies to finance its projects.
We finance our projects through a combination of our own equity and long-term bank loans. However, we sometimes enter into agreements with governments or businesses to sell the power produced by our projects.
Who assesses the projects?
All Neoen projects meet strict State and Federal Government regulations and are assessed under these regulations.
We work closely with governments to ensure we meet all legal requirements and exceed these requirements wherever possible.
This project is a State Significant Development and will be assessed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment of NSW.
Health And Culture
Are there any health risks associated with solar farms?
Solar panels are deployed on more than 25% of Australian homes and have been deployed for the past 10 to 15 years on people’s homes in the world.
No health issues have been associated with solar panels and the Eglinton Solar Farm would use the same type of technology.
Can solar farms’ noise affect local residents?
Will the project reduce air quality?
Monitoring of dust levels during construction is a basic requirement of each project.
Dust generating activities are assessed during windy conditions and are stopped and rescheduled where adequate control of dust generation cannot be achieved.
Visual observation of machinery is undertaken during site inspections in addition to daily pre-start checks which ensure all machinery has appropriate emission control devices, is in good working order and is maintained correctly.
Is cultural heritage taken into consideration?
Neoen complies with all legislation, including laws regarding the protection of cultural heritage.
A cultural heritage assessment forms part of initial studies as does consultation with local Indigenous groups to ensure cultural heritage is protected.
Do solar farms impact on flora and fauna?
Neoen engages specialist consultants to undertake detailed flora and fauna surveys to determine the ecological attributes of the land.
On all of our projects, we aim to minimise the impact on flora and fauna by designing projects to be constructed outside areas of high conservation significance and adopting control measures during the construction process.
Other mitigation measures include preparing management plans, identifying ‘no-go zones’ within the project site and conducting pre-clearance surveys.
Neoen also consults with government departments of environment and biodiversity throughout the development, construction and operational stages of projects, as well as local non-government organisations.
Do solar farms affect farm/domestic animals?
We have sheep grazing on many of our solar farms and conducted a sheep grazing trial at Parkes Solar Farm.
Sheep take a couple of days to get used to the site, and then are very comfortable with them – they use the shade from the solar arrays during summer.
How is any potential fire risk managed?
There is a cleared vegetation zone around the edges of the solar farms to prevent fire propagation. This is complemented by a strict vegetation management plan.
How will the solar farm impact trees and biodiversity ?
Two of the advantages of the proposed solar site are:
1. Relatively few trees compared with surrounding land, and,
2. Trees within the project boundary are concentrated along the gullies.
When Neoen designs the solar farm these gullies will always be protected. We consider these gullies an important part of biodiversity exclusion zones.
Impacts on biodiversity across the site will be assessed during the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement, which we will be preparing over the course of the next six to twelve months with the help of biodiversity experts. They will undertake extensive studies and surveys to identify the and detail how we can minimize impacts across the site. Neoen has also contacted the local Land care Coordinator and is looking forward to getting further local land care groups’ input as the project progresses.
How will the project impact on productive agricultural land ?
Please see our Dubbo Solar Sheep video.