Due to the availability of land and the abundance of sunlight, large parts of Australia are very well suited for solar development. Infinergy Pacific is currently developing a pipeline of around 300 megawatts of solar projects in New South Wales and Victoria. At the moment our Projects map shows the location of the 120-megawatt solar PV development Metz Solar Farm near Armidale (New South Wales) and the 200-megawatt Bookaar Solar Farm near Camperdown (Victoria).
The development of renewable energy projects requires a thorough approach. Many environmental, technical and financial factors are taken into account. As a company, we are committed to designing layouts that are sympathetic to local areas and landscapes. Therefore, expert research and extensive consultation are of the utmost importance.
When prospecting for solar PV or wind farm sites we gather as much information as possible to check feasibility. Many sites fail to meet selection criteria very early in the process, due to constraints such as grid capacity, residential properties too close to the proposed site or there may be landscape or ecological constraints. When a site seems feasible, we start formal agreement negotiations with the landowner. Contracts are signed to formalise options on the land and lease terms.
In order to obtain planning permission for a medium or large-scale renewable energy project, the planning application needs to take into account the requirements of relevant national and local planning policies. To do so, we follow a planning process that consists of extensive consultation with local authorities, professional bodies and local communities. Our technical experts undertake comprehensive surveys in fields such as ecology, visual impact on the landscape, archaeology, transportation and construction to ensure any impacts are avoided or mitigated.
The capital needed to build the project is provided by bank loans and Infinergy equity. Banks carry out due diligence in order to see whether the development is profitable.
Along with the actual solar panels or wind turbines, we need to build access tracks, a temporary construction compound, underground cabling and the substation. The first couple of months comprise civil works; the installation of the panels or turbines is relatively less time-consuming. When everything is in place, the project is connected to the grid network or to the energy system of a large energy consumer, such as a factory.
On average, solar and wind farms have an expected lifespan of 25 years. During that time, a small amount of regular maintenance is required. At the end of its operational life, decommissioning the project is relatively easy. No toxic or nuclear waste is left. The site can be completely restored to its original state.