Significant step for Sunshine Coast solar farm
  • Tuesday 19 November 2013

Sunshine Coast Council’s aim for the region to become the alternative energy capital of coastal Australia has taken a significant step forward.

Council has now shortlisted the 48 submissions for the design, construction and operation, and associated retail energy services for the Sunshine Coast solar farm.

An evaluation panel consisting of external and internal financial and technical professionals governed by a probity plan and independent probity auditor assessed submissions according to a range of criteria including:

  • financial capacity to undertake the large project
  • proposed cost savings to council
  • experience in building utility scale solar farms
  • experience in Energex's Large Customer Connection processes
  • proposed solutions to the flooding and acid sulphate soil constraints.

The initial evaluation identified 15 suppliers for short listing as being the most capable of providing council with a quality asset.

Interviews are currently being undertaken with the shortlisted companies and further detailed evaluation is continuing.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said that it was pleasing to see interest from large international companies experienced in solar technology willing to employ and train local people.

“Council wants to build a solar farm to meet its electricity needs and tap into the energy of the sun to deliver a $9 million saving for ratepayers,” he said.

“This will save money, reduce our carbon footprint and take the Sunshine Coast one step closer to becoming the most sustainable region in Australia.

“The investment in the solar farm will also inject $10 million into the local economy over the next 10 years and create up to 40 jobs during construction.

“Council would also be well placed to leverage investment in the solar farm project by continuing to develop the ‘clean-tech’ industry hub on the Sunshine Coast.

“Clean technology is one of the seven high value industries in the region’s Economic Development Strategy.

“The region will be able to export the skills developed during construction to similar projects within and outside Queensland – further diversifying our economy.”