The Columboola Solar Farm is a 162MWAC or 202.5 MWDC utility scale generation project situated on 410 hectares of grazing land in Western Downs, Queensland. The site is located approximately 10km north-east of Miles, and is accessible from Ryall Road off the Warrego Highway.
When completed in 2022, the Solar Farm will generate approximately 440 GWh of renewable energy per year – enough energy to power 75,000 homes for 35 years.
The Columboola Solar Farm utilises 407,171 next generation bifacial solar panels that produce energy from the sun using both sides of the panel. This increases the amount of renewable energy generation from the site and reduces the development footprint compared to traditional solar panel technologies.
A 132 kV overhead transmission line will be built to connect to the existing Columboola Substation and provide energy to the Queensland market.
The Columboola Solar Farm will be built by Sterling & Wilson – an international leader in renewable energy delivery with a large Australian presence.
Sterling & Wilson is constructing >1000MW of utility scale solar in Australia including three major projects in the Western Downs, one being Columboola Solar Farm.
Early works commenced on-site in July 2020, with main works commencing in November 2020. The Project will aim to deliver first generation to the grid in Q3 2021, and ramp up to full commercial operation by Q1 2022.
On typical projects, the construction and asset management roles are performed by parties not involved in the development and financing stages. For the Columboola Solar Farm, the construction and asset management function will be performed by ICA Partners and DR&AJU to provide continuity between the financing and delivery phase, and ensure a successful delivery.
Power Purchase Agreement
CS Energy – the Queensland government-owned electricity generation company – has agreed to purchase 100% of the solar farm’s renewable energy generation for the first 10 years of operation.
For the Columboola Solar Farm, this agreement reduces operating risk allowing the project to achieve a successful completion. For CS Energy, the agreement helps them to reduce the cost of providing clean and renewable energy to Queensland users into the future.