Doomadgee solar farm chalks up milestone

Doomadgee solar farm
Doomadgee solar farm
  • Ergon Energy’s 264kW solar farm at remote Doomadgee in north-west Queensland have generated 1GW hours of electricity since it started full production in October 2013
  • 434MW of electricity is expected to be produced in its first year
  • The energy produced is enough to power about 30 homes

Ergon Energy’s 264kW solar farm at remote Doomadgee in north-west Queensland recently chalked up its second birthday while, at the same time, reaching an impressive output milestone.

The farm’s 1056 fixed plate panels have generated 1GW hours of electricity since it started full production in October 2013.

“We were expecting it to produce 434MW of electricity in its first year, which would be its best result as solar output generally reduces each year by about 0.8 per cent,” project development manager Sophie Allen said.

“In its second year we saw an impressive 15 per cent greater output than anticipated, saving 133,000 litres of diesel in the last year. If you consider system losses we are talking about an average 5.5 sun hours a day compared to 4.2 sun hours a day in Brisbane or Cairns, which shows how Western Queensland is a great place for generating solar energy.”

The energy produced by the solar farm is enough to power about 30 homes and accounts for around 8 per cent of the town’s total energy needs, helping to reduce the need for costly diesel fuel. What’s more, the farm assists with reliability of supply during extended wet seasons when the community can be cut off from fuel supplies for up to six months.

With a population of around 1050 people, Doomadgee is one of the larger isolated communities serviced by Ergon Energy. The farm is located on a 7.5ha site in Doomadgee’s industrial area and is large enough to accommodate future expansion.

Ergon said it makes sense to develop renewable energy sources to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the country’s reliance on imported diesel, and harmful pollutants from diesel combustion.