A 90 hectare solar farm capable of powering 15,000 households a year has been proposed for Gregadoo.
Solar energy company Green Switch Australia discussed the proposal with residents on Tuesday evening.
Commercial director Simon Grasby said the farm would be made up of about 122,000 solar panels.
“Our proposal is for a 47 megawatt solar generated station that will be located out at Gregadoo close to the tip – the site itself is currently grazing land,” he said.
“We’ll be connecting into the large substation that’s operated by TransGrid, which means we’ve got a connection straight into the electricity network to minimise any complications.”
With a development value of more than $30 million, the solar farm constitutes a “state significant development” and must be approved by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
Mr Grasby said they hope to submit their application in April and, if approved, construction of the solar farm could begin late this year.
“Our design is quite well advanced and things like our visual impact assessment and noise assessments are all completed, so we’re now talking to the community to get their views,” he said.
I think it’s wonderful – it will bring a new industry to Wagga and help us generate our own power.Stephen James
If approved, construction of the Gregadoo Solar Farm will take six to nine months, and the farm will have a total lifespan of about 30 years.
In attendance at Tuesday evening’s forum was Climate Rescue of Wagga’s chairman Stephen James.
“I think it’s wonderful – it will bring a new industry to Wagga and help us generate our own power,” he said.
“47 megawatts peak is actually a significant chunk of Wagga’s average draw – by no means all of it – but a substantial chunk will be generated locally.”
While the majority of residents in attendance were largely in support of the development, there were also some concerns raised.
Wagga resident Graham O’Brien said he was worried about the visual impact, potential glare, the loss of agricultural land, and the damage that could be done to surrounding roads.
“We bought a property on Duke’s Hill, and one of the selling points was our westerly views – well, now we’re going to be looking into a mirror,” Mr O’Brien said.
“They’ll have 12 heavy vehicles a day onto Mitchell Road for 9 months during construction – who’s funding the road maintenance?”
Another information forum will be held on Thursday from 12pm-2pm at the Lake Albert Community Centre.