POWERED UP: The area near Bouldercombe for Gracemere solar farm, looking toward Bouldercombe. The solar power will be fed into this existing substation, a development application has revealed.
POWERED UP: The area near Bouldercombe for Gracemere solar farm, looking toward Bouldercombe. The solar power will be fed into this existing substation, a development application has revealed. Allan Reinikka ROK010317asolar1

REVEALED: Up to 60,000 homes to be powered by Rocky solar farm

A DEVELOPMENT application has revealed up to 60,000 homes could be powered by one of the nation's largest solar farms proposed for Bouldercombe.

Although the proposed 700ha site on Cherryfield Rd isn't regularly used for grazing, it is considered to be good quality agricultural land.

According to the application lodged with Rockhampton Regional Council, the proposal "will allow the underlying agricultural purpose of the land to be continued on an 'as needed' basis”.

The photovoltaic panels used for the plant will be placed on galvanised steel piles that will either be driven or screwed into the ground.

They will tilt to follow the sun as it tracks from east to west and are not expected to reach over 4m in height.

Only parts of the land are suitable for the panels, with one-third of the usable area expected to be covered in panels.

An example of the solar panels which are expected to be installed at Bouldercombe.
An example of the solar panels which are expected to be installed at Bouldercombe. Contributed

It is proposed the unused portion of the site can continue to be used for grazing, with the solar farm fenced off to protect infrastructure from the cattle.

The panels themselves are designed to have little environmental impact, meaning the site could be returned to grazing land once the plant is decommissioned.

The farm will utilise an existing substation on the Burnett Hwy frontage to feed power generated into the electricity network.

"Early estimates indicate the array will be in excess of 200MW and will produce over 284 GWh of electricity, which is enough to supply 50,000-60,000 Queensland homes,” the application states.

"The final output will depend on the types of panels secured for the project and the final installed capacity.”

The proposed area for a solar farm at Bouldercombe.
The proposed area for a solar farm at Bouldercombe. Contributed

Minimal heavy machinery will be required during construction, allowing for minimal disturbances to neighbouring properties.

Construction is expected to require a temporary site office, staggered delivery of shipping containers over a nine to 12 month period, pile driving equipment, trenching of underground cabling and preparation and installation of the kiosk transformer and associated upgrade to existing distribution lines.

The site will be accessed from a northern unnamed road reserve.

It is expected the site will see six to 11 return vehicle movements daily during the height of construction.

The site will have landscaped barriers along its borders to minimise the visual impact to neighbouring houses and the highway.

A landscape buffer of 7m is proposed for the Burnett Hwy boundary, with a mixture of shrubs and taller trees.



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