Managing our impacts
Solar farms by nature, deliver positive environmental outcomes.
Solar power is a renewable energy that delivers consistent and stable power output during daylight hours. Increasing the use of solar energy to power our homes and businesses is important to reduce our consumption of carbon-intensive fossil fuels, responsible for the damaging impacts of climate change.
Ross River Solar Farm is expected to generate around 300,000 MW/h per annum. This zero emissions electricity will then be fed into the National Electricity Grid for use by homes and businesses.
Construction of the solar farm will produce some temporary environmental impacts. A Construction and Environment Management Plan has been developed to eliminate or reduce these impacts as much as practically possible.
|Temporary noise impacts from initial site clearing and piling works|
|Dust caused by traffic onsite and the removal of existing trees|
|Increased traffic volumes on major roads to site|
We have identified sustainable, cost effective sources of water for all onsite water needs, including dust mitigation and watering of vegetation buffers.
The bulk of water used onsite will be sourced from two existing bores that were established to support the mango farm and remain operational. No new bores will be established on the site. In the instance additional water is required, this will be pre-authorised, purchased and brought on to site.
Sediment runoff during construction will be minimal and will be managed to prevent any impact on surrounding local waterways. Runoff from site – once operating – will be reduced as much as practically possible.
Operating solar panels emit no noise. Inverter units onsite that will convert power from DC to AC will comply with relevant Australian noise standards. While inverters do emit noise that is audible within the immediate vicinity of a unit, noise levels will be so low they are unlikely to be heard outside the solar farm’s boundary.
Flora and Fauna
Ecological studies – including flora and fauna surveys – are an important part of preparing for a solar project. Investigations of the entire site have been conducted to determine if sensitive native vegetation or animals are present on the site.
The vast majority of the site’s current vegetation is not recognised as sensitive or endangered. This is a result of the site having been previously cleared for agricultural use. Ecological studies have also not identified any essential habitat for species of conservation significance.
Regardless, our management plans will include procedures for what we must do in the instance significant flora or fauna is discovered onsite during construction and operations.
Depending on circumstances, mitigation measures can include contractor education, establishment of exclusion zones to suit the species and seasonal circumstances, and/or engagement of qualified professionals to assist with relocation if required.
Planning for bushfires will be undertaken with the assistance of local RFS to ensure site personnel are well prepared in the event of a bushfire.
Solar panels are designed to absorb light and as such, do not reflect significant levels of sunlight – the cause of glint or glare. The potential for glare from a solar farm must be demonstrated before it can be built. ‘Worst case scenario’ glare modelling for Ross River Solar Farm shows that the occurrence of glare at nearby properties and roadways is unlikely.
Given the low profile of its solar panels, Ross River Solar Farm will have minimal impact on the existing landscape character.
Panels will be no more than three metres in height. No high voltage transmission lines are planned as part of this development. A three-metre deep natural planting screen is proposed for the Southern and Northern boundary and will screen the project from ground views as it grows.