City turns to the sun

Stock image.
Stock image.

A SOLAR farm is on the horizon for Neerabup following a council decision to lease freehold land.

Wanneroo councillors unanimously agreed this month to invite tenders or expressions of interest (EOI) to lease land from the City to build and operate a solar power energy generation facility.

The facility would be located on 26ha within Lot 600 Wattle Avenue, which is in the Neerabup energy precinct.

According to the March 3 council agenda, Wanneroo Solar Park initially approached the City in 2012 with the concept for a 10 megawatt solar facility.

‘Feedback received from council forum indicated a strong desire to promote green energy generation within the City of Wanneroo,’ it said.

The City invited EOIs for energy generation facilities last June, and received five submissions.

‘The EOI was open to proposals from both renewable and non-renewable forms of energy generation,’ the report said.

‘Two submissions were for solar powered and three for ‘waste to energy’.’

The report said staff sought advice from the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council based on its recent experiences with energy generation facilities.

‘(It said) installation of a ‘solar farm’ would be considered more acceptable to the broader community and also provide the opportunity to showcase large-scale alternative energy generation technologies,’ it said.

The report said McGees Property Valuers found the lease for solar power generation could earn the City $156,000 a year.

Cr Frank Cvitan said it would be a ‘good use of council land’ and good outcome for the City.

Cr Sabine Winton asked about existing vegetation on the site and how much would have to be cleared. The City’s property manager Michael Penson said a solar facility would not need much construction.

‘It’s not as if you need to clear great swathes, these things sit above the ground,’ he said.

Cr Bob Smithson said it was a ‘move in the right direction’ and suggested the space could be shared with other uses.

‘It can be put out to pasture; have little sheepies grazing as we have seen in the SouthWest,’ he said.

The Neerabup property is adjacent to NewGen Neerabup Power Station. The 7.6ha currently leased to Tiger Kart Club is not included in the proposed lease.