Plans for $80 million solar farm at Wodonga’s Logic industrial hub revealed by man who has driven project since 2010

IMAGE: Row upon row: A mock-up of how the solar farm to be built at the Logic industrial estate at Barnawartha North will appear.

THERE will be 80,000 panels, pointing north away from the Hume Freeway, at the City of Wodonga’s first solar farm. 

Details of the development earmarked for the Logic industrial hub were outlined on Tuesday by Wodonga Solar Power chief executive Doug Townsend.

“Our aim is to start construction on the site in January 2019,” he said.

“We will drill 30,000 holes to put the A-frames in and then deploy the panels and build the substation.

“It will be a 10 to 12-month build, that’s depending on the weather.”

Mr Townsend said 80,000 panels, which will sit on trackers, would face northward away from Hume Freeway traffic between Barnawartha and the Logic exit at the Murray Valley Highway.

The $80 million solar farm is a joint venture between Mr Townsend’s Melbourne consultancy Heliades and South Korean firm S-Energy, which was spun off from Samsung Electronics in 2001.

S-Energy manufactures photovoltaic cells and the Wodonga farm will be its first project in Australia.

The Wodonga activity was first considered in 2010 when it was envisaged it would be a 152-megawatt farm, but economic conditions resulted in it being shelved.

It was revived in 2015 based on potential assistance via the Victorian government’s energy policies and land at Bandiana was floated before complexities with army land proved too great.

IMAGE: Bird's eye view: The shaded areas above represent the land at the Logic hub which will be leased to Wodonga Solar Power Pty Ltd over a 25-year period. The North East railway and Hume Freeway can be seen below the earmarked land.

Mr Townsend said Wodonga Council then flagged the 138 hectares at Logic, which the city will offer the company on a 25-year lease with an annual rental of $352,000 indexed at 4.85 per cent per year.

It will generate 50 megawatts with two hectares needed for each megawatt.

Mr Townsend said Wodonga had proved more attractive than another Victorian Murray River city.

“The sunlight hours were only about 10 per cent lower than Mildura, but it sat aside the national grid, so we thought that would lower the price of the total build, because we would have less costs to connect,” he said.

About 80 workers will be employed on constructing the farm with five ongoing jobs related to monitoring.

Mr Townsend said talks were occurring with retailers about agreements which would help underwrite the farm’s financial model.

“We would obviously be interested in hearing from any large scale energy user,” he said.

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