Since the Royalla solar farm attained financial close back in August 2013, construction had proceeded accordingly and according to FRV, the company behind it, the farm will begin operations by the end of this year. While it will provide an alternative energy source, some residents worry about the visual impact it will have.
Construction of Royalla Solar Farm
Construction of this commercial solar project is being handled by Acciona Energy Oceania (AEO), and according to FRV this 20MW project is providing more than a hundred people with jobs related to its construction. And once the solar farm is operational, it will provide electricity for 4,500 homes in Canberra.
Once the project is complete, FRV says it will be one of the biggest solar projects in Australia. FRV country manager Andrea Fontana also said the ACT government’s solar action is a success and proves that it is possible to produce renewable energy with low emission.
FRV, the company undertaking the Royalla solar farm project, is one of the largest solar companies in the world with operations in Australia, South America, the Middle East, Europe and South Africa. Since 2006, the company has been involved in the development, financing and maintenance of over 360 CSP solar energy and photovoltaic plants.
Overall, FRV has been involved in the successful development of solar projects around the world totalling $2 billion. Their project in Australia, spreading over 50 hectares, is the biggest in the country as far as commercial solar projects go. According to planning documents, the photovoltaic array on the farm could reach 100 hectares prior to its operational launch.
Stage one of the project was approved by the ACT government, stating that it would effectively reduce the carbon emission of 4,400 homes. The farm itself is situated near the flat land close to Monaro Highway off the ACT’s southern section, and from Canberra it is about 23 km away. According to FRV, the site was chosen because it has been subject to agricultural practice in the past and cleared.
The site of the Royalla solar farm is adjacent to a reliable transmission infrastructure, and there’s a substation that allows for easier connectivity. At the same time, the location and set up will minimise any impact on the environment, and the site also has the benefit of not being near any residential homes. The footprint of the entire project occupies less than 10% of where it is located.
Local Concerns over Royalla Solar Farm
FRV has also addressed the concerns of some residents such as Jennifer Howlett about the farm. In an interview, Ms. Howlett, who lives in Royalla by the Old Cooma Road, says the panels have a very strong glare, and she fears that it will worsen when the farm begins operation at the end of the year.
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However, according to FRV, their commercial solar project won’t produce any glare when it becomes operational. Furthermore they added that the farm will have very little impact as far as visuals are concerned. According to a company spokesman, the design of the farm panels were done in such a way that it would blend in harmoniously with the environment.