Solar station plans are heating up

TIME TO COMMENT: People have until October 4 to comment on the latest development application.
TIME TO COMMENT: People have until October 4 to comment on the latest development application.

DEVELOPERS have lodged a development application for a subdivision as the next step to the locations of a big solar power farm on the outskirts of Katherine.

Katherine Solar Pty Ltd wants to create two lots for the purpose of leases in excess of 12 years.

Katherine Solar is a company formed by Sydney-based Epuron, a well credentialed medium scale solar farm builder.

The company wants to build the farm alongside the Stuart Highway, about five kilometres north-west of the township.

People have until October 4 to comment on the latest development application which expects the leases to be for a minimum of 25 years to “related” property owners.

An original development application for the solar farm has already won approval.

“Jobs will be created and local businesses will benefit from sourcing of inputs to build the proposed solar array,” the present application says.

“During construction, local contractors will be utilised where feasible and a peak workforce of up to 100 is expected. During operations, it is likely that local contractors will be utilised where feasible to conduct operation and maintenance activities such as plant inspection, routine maintenance and vegetation maintenance.”

Solar panels would straddle about 75 hectares of largely cleared land and be fed back into the Northern Territory electricity grid via the Katherine sub-station in Zimin Drive.

Epuron has developed and constructed a number of wind and solar projects.

It has built solar photovoltaic farms at Alice Springs, Ti Tree and Ayers Rock resort.

“The maximum expected project size is 25 megawatts,” the project documents state.

Solar experts say 25 megawatts could be enough power for the entire needs of about 4000 homes.

The solar farm already has concept approval.

“Upon completion the project will provide 25 MW of power to Darwin through the Katherine-Darwin transmission system. With consent granted construction of the site is set to begin in the fourth quarter of this year,” the company said.