110MW Darling Downs Solar Farm officially opens in Qld

Darling Downs Solar Farm
L-R Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham, APA Group CEO and managing director Rob Wheals and Mayor of Western Downs Regional Council Paul McVeigh

APA Group’s Darling Downs Solar Farm has been officially opened by Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham, after what was a rocky journey to get there.

The solar farm was sold to APA Group by Origin in 2017 for $200 million, with the parties agreeing to a power purchase agreement for all of the farm’s output for a 12-year term.

There were also delays in being connected to the grid, with Queensland company Powerlink constructing 480 metres of new transmission line to the solar farm. It also experienced delays with original contractor RCR Tomlinson going into voluntary administration.

The project was developed and constructed with the help of a $20 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Now complete, the farm comprises 423,360 solar panels installed over 250 hectares and is capable of generating 110 megawatts (AC), which is enough to power 36,000 homes.

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APA Group CEO and managing director Rob Wheals said, “Our new Darling Downs Solar Farm is a world class renewables facility that demonstrates APA’s commitment to responsible energy”.

“It showcases what can be achieved when industry, government and communities come together with a common goal,” he said.

“We’re continuing to grow our capabilities in renewable energy infrastructure as part of our growth strategy.

“Darling Downs Solar Farm is part of our growing renewables infrastructure portfolio, which will, together with our gas infrastructure, contribute to Australia’s transition to a lower carbon economy.”

The Darling Downs Solar Farm site is located approximately 45 kilometres west of Dalby in southwestern Queensland and connects into the existing Darling Downs Braemar substation, connecting it into the National Electricity Grid. Commercial operations commenced in January 2019.

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