Byford solar farm step closer to reality

Byford solar farm step closer to reality

PERTH’S first solar farm, planned for Byford, needs approval by a Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) following support from the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale last Tuesday night.

Shire president John Erren said council endorsed the Responsible Authority Report, which recommends the Metropolitan East Joint Development Assessment Panel approve the application involving three lots on Thomas Road, 6km west of Byford townsite.

Westgen director Richard Harris said the company, which specialises in solar power and biomass, said it had worked on the project for at least three years and it would sell its electricity to an undisclosed big energy retailer.

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The 75ha project is expected to generate 30MW.

Mr Harris said available capacity at Byford substation to take an extra 30MW was the primary reason Byford was an attractive site, and the shire had indicated it welcomed renewable energy and had unsuccessfully tried to attract a wind farm.

“They were looking for large scale renewable energy,” Mr Harris said.

The council recommended conditional approval for the site, which will include a tourist facility, office and site facilities.

“We’re very excited,” Mr Harris said.

“It is very close to happening. We hope to start construction early next year.”

The project is expected to cost $60-$80 million.

Westgen is also looking at a couple of sites in the Midwest but these require investment in infrastructure to increase capacity.