Byron Bay to host its first solar farm, a 5MW “community” facility

Plans for a 5MW community solar farm have been submitted to the Byron Shire Council, paving the way for what could be the first large-scale PV project for the Northern Rivers Region.

Local company Coolamon Energy submitted a development application to the council for the $6.5 million project last month, which proposes building the solar array on Grays Lane at Tyagarah, just south of the Tyagarah Airfield.

Coolamon Energy co-director Craig Johnston says the proposed Byron Bay Solar Farm was a community project that would deliver benefits to the Shire.

“Benefits include strengthening the reliability of the local energy grid, reducing greenhouse gases, building skills in renewable energy projects, and providing potential investment opportunities for the local community,” Johnston said.

The Byron Shire has targeted net zero emissions by 2025 and 100 per cent renewable energy by 2027 for council’s operations, and supports the work of Zero Emissions Byron, a voluntary group that aims to transition the whole of Byron Shire to net zero emissions by 2025.

According to its website, council has itself been considering building a ground-mounted solar farm on council-owned land – also 5MW in capacity – to offset its own, and potentially the community’s emissions.

“We are now doing a detailed feasibility business case, to fully understand the investment proposition, community delivery model, project risks, implementation structure, funding and financing options, electricity retailing models, procurement pathway and timing,” the council site says.

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