The 90,576th – and last! – solar panel waits to be mounted into position on Wednesday morning

August 16, 2023

The Kingaroy Solar Farm passed an important milestone on Wednesday, with the mounting of the last solar panel on site.

However, construction work at the 53MW project will not be completed until October.

The commissioning process will then be undertaken, which means the first power won’t be generated until next year.

The solar farm has been built on about 118ha of land – owned by two local residents – adjacent to Kingaroy-Barkers Creek Road. was invited by developers Mytilineos to witness the historic placement of the final solar panel on Wednesday, the 90,576th to be erected.

Teams of workers have been placing more than 3000 panels a day into position.

At the same time, electrical cables are being laid into trenches underground and a vegetation buffer consisting of 25,000 trees is being planted around the edges of the site.

Mytilineos representative Lluvia Murillo said the selection of the trees had been undertaken in co-operation with the South Burnett Regional Council to ensure suitable plants were chosen.

The aim is for the trees to reach a height to shield the fence around the project.

Sheep – which Mytilineos believes are a perfect partner for solar farms – will be placed on the land after the plant is commissioned to help keep the grass down.

Ms Murillo said Mytilineos had donated more than $100,000 in cash and goods to the local community so far during the construction process.

This included sponsorship of the South Burnett Thrashers and the 2022 BaconFest event as well as donations of timber to the Kingaroy and Cherbourg Men’s Sheds, South Burnett Woodcrafters, local schools, the Kingaroy RSPCA, Kingaroy and Nurunderi TAFEs, South Burnett Care and individual community members.

In total, 17,590kg of timber – including pallets and cable drums – have been given to various individuals and organisations.

The Kingaroy Solar Farm is nearing completion, but the company already has another project in development in Queensland.

General manager (Oceania Region) Ian Kirkham said Mytilineos would be developing a solar farm soon at Munna Creek, north of Woolooga.

This project will be about double the size of the Kingaroy solar farm.

* * *

The Kingaroy Solar Farm has not been without its critics.

The original proponent, Terrain Solar, took the South Burnett Regional Council to court after Council knocked back its Development Application.

Seven co-respondents – later reduced to three – joined Council in opposing Terrain Solar’s appeal.

Five were local residents, either living beside or overlooking the proposed development, while two others had interests in land nearby.

The final judgment in the appeal case was handed down by Judge Michael Williamson, QC, in June 2019.

After discussions between the parties, Terrain Solar proposed to make slight changes to its Development Application.

These changes were accepted by Council and the three remaining co-respondents.

They included revised vegetation screening, changes to the location of some fencing and a maintenance track, as well as revised landscape buffer zones.

In June this year, Mytilineos – which took over the project from Terrain Solar – announced it had signed a long-term power purchase agreement with SmartestEnergy Australia, which will on-sell the energy from the Kingaroy project to commercial and industrial customers.

Pilcom workers Nathan Betard and Daniel Thomson affix the panel into location … at the peak of assembly, up to 3000 solar panels were being mounted every day
Senior Mytilineos staff members Florencia Bagnulo, Juan Crescenzi, Sunil Paresh, Ian Kirkham, Lluvia Murillo, Rick Demooy, Umer Siddique and Chico Nita joined with Pilcom workers Daniel Thomson and Nathan Betard to mark the milestone event
After being erected, the solar panels are wired into underground cables … Mytilineos plans to reseed grass on the bare patches of soil
Mytilineos program director Sunil Parash, general manager (Oceania Region) Ian Kirkham and program manager Umer Siddique
Mike Chan plants another native shrub around the boundary … he was aiming to plant just under 500 during his shift on Wednesday
Mytilineos has ordered 25,000 trees to be planted around the borders of the site … the aim is for the plants to reach at least the height of the wire fence
Looking down on the solar farm from the hill on the northern side of the site
Kingaroy Men’s Shed volunteers unload some of the timber and pallets donated to the organisation (Photo: Mytilineos)

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