Solar lease

By Country News

Greater Shepparton City Council will enter into a lease with Goulburn Valley Community Energy on a $40million solar farm for GV Link land south of Mooroopna.

The proposed lease would be for a 25-year term, with the option to extend the lease for an additional 25 years.

GVCE Mooroopna Solar Pty Ltd told council the proposed solar farm would be able to generate up to 23MW a year.

Council said the lease was for the GV Link land east of Toolamba Rd and the railway line, for the purposes of construction and use as a solar farm.

Councillors voted to provide public notice of the council’s intention to enter into a lease agreement.

GVCE chief executive Geoff Lodge described the council’s decision of intention to lease the land as a ‘‘significant milestone’’ for the project.

Mr Lodge estimated the facility would have 62000 panels across a 30ha area.

He said it could provide enough electricity for 6500 homes at any one time and provide more than 100 construction jobs during the building phase.

Council said it had received a number of inquiries about leasing land at the GV Link site. Council officers recognised an opportunity to make the GV Link land east of Toolamba Rd available for a large-scale solar farm.

City of Greater Shepparton chief executive Peter Harriott had last year been optimistic of the first sod being turned on the project last year.

More than six months later, council had said while the tender process had been completed on the project, confidential negotiations were continuing.

Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said the subject land east of Toolamba Rd had been set aside for water retention as part of the future GV Link project and council officers felt the area north of the proposed water retention basin could be suitable for a solar farm.

Council had last year hoped the solar development would be capable of producing a minimum of 10MW, and that the facility might help reverse uncertainty caused by extra energy costs estimated as being in the millions for some businesses.