New solar plant for Northam

Carnegie Clean Energy Limited has plans to build a 10 megawatt solar power plant on 131 Northam-York Road in Muluckine. 

The project will be owned, built and operated by the company for at least the next 25 years and will cost around $20 million. 

The solar plant will consist of 34,000 solar panels on 25 hectares of land to produce and sell clean power.

A company statement said the energy will effectively power 3,800 households and displace 17,000 tonnes per year of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 3,500 cars off the road. 

On Friday the company submitted a planning application to the Northam Shire.

The application will be assessed by the Wheatbelt Joint Development Application Panel due to the value of the project.  

A public consultation period will begin in the next couple of weeks with surrounding landowners and the community. The company plan to start construction mid year and be finished by the end of 2017. 

Carnegie Clean Energy project development officer Tim Sawyer said Northam was chosen for a number of reasons including its position, flat land orientation and the low value agricultural land. 

“The project is well advanced with design, costings, land surveys, solar radiation studies and power output analysis already conducted.

“We look for areas that are going to cause the least issues with the local community,” he said.

“We look for areas that are going to cause the least issues with the local community,” he said. Mr Sawyer said the proposed land is low yielding and frost affected.

“We are not taking premium land and look for land that is lower value and has minimal visual impact on the area.” 

He said local workers have been used for land surveys and consultation and local tradesman will be contracted for future works. 

Carnegie’s managing director and chief executive officer, Dr Michael Ottaviano said this is the next step in the evolution of clean energy. 

“The ability to add utility scale battery storage is a new product offering we will integrate into our own solar farms and also to other developers of utility scale solar farms as the technology costs continue to decline in the coming years.

 “This project presents a fantastic opportunity for local investment and employment, particularly for the community of Northam.

“Carnegie aims to use local capability where possible, with an expected 40 job opportunities through the construction phase

 The land has also been secured from a local landholder and will provide an alternative revenue stream from the agricultural land.”