Queensland is actively growing its renewable energy sector in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions, attract investment and create jobs. With an annual average of 8-9 hours of bright sunshine per day (Bureau of Meteorology, Australian Government, 2005), Queensland has access to an outstanding solar resource, which makes the state an ideal hub for solar energy generation. Queensland is already leading the nation in solar rooftop installation, with the capacity installed on rooftops eclipsing the capacity of the state’s largest coalfired power station in 2017. Significant reductions in the cost of solar panel technology combined with government policy and investment, and loan facilities have accelerated the development of the large-scale solar sector. The investment in this relatively new form of utility-scale energy generation is expected to grow over time, making a significant contribution to Queensland’s renewable energy ambitions. The Guidelines specifically relate to solar farms comprising commercial scale (typically greater than five megawatts) photovoltaic (PV) solar arrays. Although they can be applied to any scale of solar farm or indeed other renewable energy projects, which are required to undergo a development assessment process.
WEA Group welcomes these guidelines