Gunnedah is one step closer to landing a $201 million solar farm.
Business development manager, Robert Ibrahim, said Photon Energy was currently compiling a specialist environmental impact assessment study of a 692-hectare site on Orange Grove Road.
The study will be submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment. Assessments were carried out by engineering and environment consultancy, pitt&sherry, in November 2017.
“We are hoping for March [for submission],” Mr Ibrahim said.
“That will allow NSW planning to consider the project.
“We’d like to hopefully hear back from them within two or three months.”
Mr Ibrahim said the company was “quite confident” the 155-megawatt project will be approved.
“We do fairly in-depth vetting process when we look at land.
“This whole process is quite time-consuming and you want to make sure you’re picking the right site.
“It’s got to be close to a tower network, a fairly flat, reasonably clear site.”
Related story: Gunnedah enters dawn of solar with second project
Mr Ibrahim said the Orange Grove Road site ticks all the boxes and the company would look to lease the land, using only part of the site for the 470,000 panels, with the rest to be used for agriculture.
“We plan to graze sheep on the land with the solar farm so it’s dual purpose,” he said.
“A lot of farmers are really excited about it because it helps them to diversify.
“If it’s a bad season they have another income. It makes them a bit more resilient.”
Mr Ibrahim said Photon Energy held a community information night in Gunnedah in August last year and the response was “mostly positive”.
The business development manager said the project would employ up to 60 people, with up to six ongoing jobs.
Photon’s project follows the 27-megawatt solar farm proposed by Ironbark Energy, located at the old abattoir on Quia Rd.