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Project

Metz Solar Farm is being developed by Metz Solar Farm Pty Ltd, and will have a generation capacity of around 100MW.  It is estimated that when completed the solar farm will provide enough clean renewable energy to supply up to 40,000 average homes.  That’s over half of the 66,000 households in New England, where the project will be located.

In addition it’s estimated that the annual greenhouse gas emissions reduced by the project will be approximately 225,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent while at the same it will also save approximately 350,000 mega litres of clean drinking water compared to a coal-fired power station.  That’s a lot of Carbon and Water saved over the project’s 30 year lifetime!

Technology

Photovoltaic Panels (just like the ones that go on domestic houses) would either be mounted in a fixed tilted position or on a single axis tracking system that would track the sun during the day:

Fixed – A fixed tilt system utilises a frame between piles that would orientate panels at approximately 30 degrees towards the north, north west or north east

Tracking – A single axis tracking system orientates panels towards the sun throughout the day.  In the morning panels would be orientated to the east at 60 degrees gradually rotating during the day towards the west. 

Solar technology is advancing rapidly; improving in efficiency and cost each year. Therefore the final choice of panel or mounting technology is not yet determined, and will be subject to a detailed design and tendering process ensuing that the most efficient panels are used to produce the maximum possible output from the site. While what lies within the cell might change, this will not affect the way the solar farm will look. Panels will have a final height of 2.5-3m above ground level.

Once submitted a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment will be downloadable from this website on the 'news' page.  It will contain visualisations of the Solar Farm.

Timeline

The project’s Environmental Impact Assessment will be submitted to the New South Wales Government in January 2017, and it is expected that construction will begin in Spring 2018 to be completed by early 2019.  The Solar Farm will be decommissioned after 30 years. 

Benefits – local to national

The project will deliver significant benefits to the Armidale area and the wider community.  This flows from the creation of direct jobs throughout each stage of the project's life cycle.

Beginning with the Environmental studies, the main contract has been awarded to a locally based Armidale consultancy firm and is supporting a team of around 15 people during the study phase.  During the construction period it is estimated that the project could provide jobs for up to 150 workers over the course of a year and more.  This will be followed by up to 15 full time local jobs over the 30 year operational period of the project.  A similarly large construction team will be required to decommission the project and restore the land to its current pre-development condition.

The additional workers to the area will bring growth to Armidale and wider New England through increased indirect economic opportunities such as use of accommodation, cafes and food suppliers, as well as general services. 

On a wider scale, the project is part of a transition to help ensure Australia develops a modern, robust and cleaner energy supply. In doing so helping to provide the Australian economy with more resilience in a rapidly changing global economy.