The Rollingstone Solar Farm is a 110 megawatt (MW) utility scale renewable energy project that will generate clean and renewable electricity from the power of the sun.
The $210-million-dollar project is located in the locality of Rollingstone on a disused sugarcane plantation. The site is located approximately 60km north-west of Townsville CBD and 3km from Balgal Beach.
The wider Townsville region is particularly suitable for solar developments because of the areas high solar irradiance with an average 320 days of sunshine annually. The site also offers proximity to the grid network through the Powerlink transmission line crossing the site as well as suitable flat land free from environmental constraints.
The solar farm will cover an area of 190 hectares (approximately 470 acres) and comprise approximately 400,000 solar photovoltaic modules, known more commonly as ‘PV Modules’ or ‘solar panels’. The solar panels are identical in type but larger in size to those used in residential solar installations located on homes throughout Australia.
The solar panels will be installed on ground-mounted frames that will slowly track the daily horizontal movement of the sun. The solar panels will generate direct current (‘DC’) electricity that will be inverted to alternating current (‘AC’) via containerized power conversion units. The power conversion units located within the site will feed AC electricity into an onsite power reticulation system before the power is centrally collected and dispatched to the local electricity distribution network via the Powerlink transmission network.
ESCO Pacific received Development Approval from Townsville City Council in December 2016. Work to secure a grid connection with Powerlink is currently underway. The project will take approximately 12 months to build and subject to approvals it is expected that work will commence in the first quarter of 2018.