Construction of the Numurkah solar farm began in September 2018 and it commenced full scale operations on 19 July 2019.
Neoen uses similar technology to that used in residential solar photovoltaic installations with the main difference being that solar farm panels are usually mounted on systems that track the sun through the sky. Numurkah Solar Farm uses premium quality solar panels and other technologies provided by leading manufacturers.
The Numurkah solar farm will operate for between 25 and 30 years. Depending on the local environment, the panels can generate electricity for 30 years or more with only about 0.5% efficiency loss each year.
When light shines on a solar panel the light’s photons knock electrons free from the material within the solar panel producing electricity. A inverter transforms the electricity generated from the solar panels from direct current (DC) electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity. This AC electricity is transmitted to a substation through medium voltage underground cables where it is distributed to the grid. The amount of energy generated is determined by the intensity and angle of the light hitting the solar panels. This is why the solar farm uses a tracking systems to optimise the angle of the panel to the sun throughout the day.
The solar panels at Numurkah are 1m x 2m in size and are arranged in rows that are 30, 60 or 90 m long. These rows of solar panels are spaced 5 to 7m apart. The height of a fully tilted solar panel is 3 to 4 metres above the ground.
Renewable energy projects are now the cheapest sources of new energy generation. Solar energy projects produce energy at less than $50 per megawatt hour. The costs of other sources of generation are:
- Existing coal generation: approximately $40 per megawatt hour
- Combined gas-cycle generation: approximately $75 per megawatt hour
- New coal generation: approximately $130 per megawatt hour
Solar energy forms just one part of the Australian Energy Market Operators (AEMO) move towards renewable energy. Solar farms add to the supply side of the electricity supply-demand equation, which puts downward pressure on all electricity bills.
Neoen does not require government subsidies to finance its projects. We finance our projects through a combination of our own equity and long-term bank loans. However, we sometimes enter into agreements with governments or businesses to sell the power produced by our projects.
Health & Culture
No health issues have been associated with solar panels. Solar panels are installed on more than 25% of Australian homes and have been on homes throughout the world for the past 15 years.
Numurkah Solar Farm uses the same type of solar panel technology.
SAFETY & ENVIRONMENT
Neoen engages specialist consultants to undertake detailed flora and fauna surveys to determine the ecological attributes of the land before the solar farm is built.
On all of our projects, we aim to minimise the impact on flora and fauna by designing projects to be constructed outside areas of high conservation significance and adopting control measures during the construction process.
Other mitigation measures include preparing management plans, identifying ‘no-go zones’ within the project site and conducting pre-clearance surveys.
Neoen also consults with government departments of environment and biodiversity throughout the development, construction and operational stages of projects, as well as local non-government organisations.