First panels installed on the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm
  • Wednesday 05 October 2016
Mayor and councillor at solar farm

A major milestone for the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm project has been reached with the first solar panel table lifted into place and secured.

When the 15 megawatt (MV) solar farm is complete, Sunshine Coast Council will become Australia’s first local government to offset 100% of its electricity consumption from clean energy across all its facilities and operations.

Mayor Jamieson said reaching this stage of the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm project had been a culmination of years of hard work and he was proud to be onsite today (Oct 5) to celebrate the significant milestone.

“Council is striving to become Australia’s most sustainable region and our Sunshine Coast Solar Farm at Valdora is part of a grand plan to achieve that vision,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“The solar farm will see council proactively take control of our electricity supply to combat rising electricity costs, which are, on average, 14% higher in Queensland compared to last financial year.

“The solar farm will deliver $22 million in savings, after costs, for our ratepayers over the next 30 years.

“It will instrumental in helping our region transition to clean energy economy.”

Divisional and Economic Development and Innovation Portfolio Councillor Steve Robinson congratulated the solar farm work project team on reaching this important stage of the project.

“Rowena Coghill, Downer’s Project Manager, visited the Trina Solar Factory in China in August to check the production of the panels and oversee their quality control process,” Cr Robinson said.

“All up, about 15,000 screw piles will be installed in the ground to hold the tables above the flood plain. It takes 10 piles to hold up one table of 40 panels, or 12 piles for a corner table.

“Each 20mx4m aluminium table is craned into place with a locally designed lifting jig, developed specifically for the project.

“In the last few weeks, the crew has been load testing the lifting jig and undertaken a few practice runs to make sure everything is in place to begin production this week.

“Two crews using 100 tonne cranes will install about 25 tables each day.

“Weather dependent, all tables should be up by Christmas.”

The solar farm is expected to be operational by mid-2017.

Fast facts:

  • 15256 screw piles
  • Two minutes to install each pile
  • 350 piles installed each day
  • Two crews and two 100 tonne cranes install about 25 tables per day
  • 10 piles to hold up one table of 40 panels, or 12 piles on corner tables
  • 1500 20m x 4m tables each holding 40 panels
  • More than 57,000 PV (photovoltaic) modules (solar panels) will be installed
  • Solar panels manufactured by Trina Solar in China
  • Screw piles and mounting structure manufactured by Schletter in Germany