How will the solar farm project impact the local community?
The solar farm project will bring more people and investment to the community. This will have some impacts on lifestyle of those in the community but will increase the local economy as workers relocate and contribute economically to the town. Locals will have the opportunity to gain employment and local contractors may be able to secure work or supply contracts.
Where is the project located?
The project is located at 1409 Newell Highway, Wyalong, New South Wales. Access to the site will be directly from Newell Highway. The Wyalong Solar Farm is located predominantly on agricultural land. The site was selected for its proximity to Essential Energy’s network and it was flat land without environmental constraints.
What is the size of the project?
The project will have an overall development footprint of approximately 160 hectares. The project includes the construction, operation, upgrading and eventual decommissioning of a 75MWdc photovoltaic electricity generating system and associated infrastructure. This will include grid connection to the Essential Energy substation. Approximately 126,752 solar panels will be installed.
How much electricity will the project generate?
The Wyalong Solar Farm will generate enough electricity to power 27,000 average Australian homes.
How long will construction be conducted on site for?
Construction on-site will be conducted for approximately 12 months from start to finish.
What’s the longevity of a solar farm project?
The expected lifespan of a solar farm project is up to 30 years.
What technologies is MYTILINEOS using to build its solar farms?
Mytilineos is using high quality solar tracker systems to build its solar farms and the most up to date solar panel and inverter technologies.
What is the life cycle of a photovoltaic panel?
The overall lifespan of a solar panel is at least 25+ years with an average annual degradation rate of 0.50%.
Will the solar farm reduce my electricity bill?
The electricity generated from the solar farm is transmitted into the electricity grid and alters the supply-demand equation, which in turn may put downward pressure on electricity bills.
What type of maintenance activities will be conducted after construction?
Weekly, monthly, and 6 monthly inspections and tests of mechanical & electrical infrastructure will be conducted, along with vegetation management and module cleaning.
Is there any impact on flora and fauna?
Prior to vegetation clearance and ground-breaking activities, a pre-clearance survey will be undertaken to ensure that vegetation and fauna are properly identified, retained, treated or relocated. The fauna survey will be undertaken by a fauna spotter-catcher prior to commencing site works, which will help identify the presence of habitat features within the works footprint. If fauna is identified within the site, a fauna spotter-catcher will be called to remove the animal from the works area. A fence will be installed around the site to prevent fauna entering the site.
Do photovoltaic panels impact geology?
Most of the solar panels are primarily made from silicon, which is the main component in sand. Due to the abundance of silicon on Earth, photovoltaic panels don’t have a negative impact on the environment.
How will the waste be managed on site?
All waste is disposed of at a licensed Waste Management Centre. Waste is removed and disposed of in accordance with the Waste Schedule. No waste will be burnt or buried on-site. All waste removed from the site will be recorded in the Environmental Tracking Register which will include details such as type of waste, quantity, and whether the waste has been disposed or recycled. The toilet on-site will be in compliance with all SafeWork NSW requirements. For more information, please refer to the Waste Management Plan.
How will bushfires be prevented/managed during & after construction?
Mytilineos employees and subcontractors will be qualified and competent in the use of fire-fighting equipment provided at the Wyalong Solar Farm. Mytilineos will conduct emergency response drills as part of its emergency response training and preparation. The purpose of the drills is to ensure that staff working on-site are aware of the emergency response protocols and can adequately perform the steps and actions required to effectively manage and control bush fire threat on-site. A 10m asset protection zone will be provided around the solar farm and is wholly within the Wyalong Solar Farm site. Also, 20,000 litres of water will be supplied adjacent to the internal property access road, which is within the required asset protection zone. No waste or vegetation is to be burned on-site at any time. During Total Fire Ban days, no hot works will be permitted, unless an exemption has been applied for and granted by the NSW RFS. A security team will be on-site 24/7 during construction. For more information, please refer to the Bush Fire Protection Plan.
Do solar farms make any noise?
Building a solar farm can be noisy during certain phases of the mechanical construction, depending on how close the receptors are to the construction site. However, construction will only be undertaken from Monday to Friday, 7:00am to 6:00pm, and Saturday from 8:00am to 1:00pm. Noise generating construction activities will be limited to standard construction hours, except where an acceptable acoustic solution can be identified to minimise adverse amenity impacts on the receptors.
Will there be much dust generated during construction? If so, how will this be managed/mitigated?
Mytilineos will monitor daily weather and adjust construction activities in order to minimise dust generation, for example during high winds and/or dry conditions. Mytilineos will also manage dust suppression by using a water cart in work areas that will help prevent dust generation.
Has the site been inspected for culture and heritage artefacts? How will this be managed?
All employees, contractors, subcontractors, and visitors of the project have an obligation to avoid harming Aboriginal heritage, unless engaging in an approved development activity where Aboriginal salvage obligations have already been met. The findings of an archaeological survey done in the project area confirm that Aboriginal stone artefacts are broadly distributed within the soil across the project area; however, vegetation cover and soil exposure conditions may change and reveal previously obscured artefacts. Aboriginal sites within the project area, but outside of impact areas, will not be disturbed. These sites will be protected by fencing to ensure that they are not inadvertently impacted during the construction phase of the project. In the event that known or suspected Aboriginal skeletal remains are encountered during the course of project, the following procedure will be followed:
• All work will halt immediately, and a 10 m buffer zone will be established around the remains and will be cordoned off with temporary construction fencing
• The find will be immediately reported to the site supervisor who will immediately advise the Proponent.
• The Proponent will promptly contact the nearest police station (as required for all human remains discoveries).
• The Proponent will contact Heritage NSW (02 9873 8500 firstname.lastname@example.org) for advice on identification of the skeletal material as Aboriginal and management of the material.
• If the remains are Aboriginal ancestral remains, the RAPs will be contacted and consultative arrangements will be made to discuss ongoing care of the remains, including advice from recommended forensic anthropologists.
• Recommencement of work in the area surrounding the Aboriginal ancestral remains can only occur once the updated ACHMP for the project has been endorsed by the Secretary (or their delegate), or the Secretary is satisfied with the measures implemented in managing the remains have been undertaken and makes a written direction in that regard.
Roads & Access
What type of vehicles will be travelling on/off site?
The project will utilise light vehicles travelling on/off site. However, to limit movements to/from site, staff mini buses will be organised. With respect to heavy vehicles, the project might utilise a mix of trucks which could be carrying 40 foot containers, or plant and equipment. A few oversized trucks might be used on occasion.
Is the solar farm going to impact traffic?
The proposed development will generate up to 46 daily vehicle movements (comprising of 22 light vehicles and 24 heavy / Oversized vehicles) during the peak construction periods and about two vehicle movements per day during operation. This traffic will be entirely accommodated along the Newell Highway. The impact of this additional traffic is expected to be minimal. Traffic during the peak construction periods equates to an approximate increase of 5% compared to the existing traffic along the Newell Highway. It is expected that these volumes will be comfortably absorbed on the Newell Highway with no detrimental impacts to performance.
How often will the panels be cleaned and how will they be cleaned?
This will vary depending on various factors. However, the panels will generally be cleaned once every one to two years. They will be cleaned by using a panel cleaning tractor.
Where is the power going to and how much cheaper will electricity be? Also, are savings going to be seen?
The electrons feed onto the network through transmission and distribution lines, and from there, it travels to where it is needed. In general, renewables have been seen to bring down electricity prices, and research shows that renewables are now cheaper than newly-built coal and gas-powered stations. In response to savings, savings will generally be 30% and can be seen within 6 months after the completion of the solar farm.
How are the damaged panels going to be disposed of if a hailstorm damages them?
Solar panels are disposed of in a similar manner to electronic wastes. They will be collected and disposed of through accredited E-wastes collection companies.