Modifications to Walla Walla Solar Farm
September 29, 2021
As part of detailed planning, FRV is proposing three modifications to previously approved development plans.
- Substation power pole height changes
- Solar panel height changes
- Temporary changes to transport route access.
Walla Walla Solar Farm will feature an onsite substation that will enable clean energy to be exported to the high voltage electricity grid. This new substation is being designed and constructed by TransGrid, the owner and manager of the NSW transmission network.
During its design of the substation, TransGrid have advised that the height of power poles associated with this substation must be increased to allow safe clearances that align with Australian Standards. This will increase the height of substation power poles from 21 metres to between 30-36 metres. New pole heights will be equivalent to existing transmission infrastructure (lattice transmission towers) in the area.
Latest commercial solar panels have increased in size since the Walla Walla Solar Farm was first proposed. Latest panels are taller – and therefore more efficient – with a height of 4.85 metres as opposed to 4 metres as was originally planned. FRV will still utilise tracking technology – where panels move to track the sun – meaning panels will only be at their full height for a very small part of the day – approximately 30 to 60 minutes.
While panel heights are proposed to increase, there will be no change to the footprint of the solar farm – that is, the overall development will remain inside of approved boundaries and setbacks from adjacent neighbours.
Temporary transport route changes
TransGrid will also require access to the substation prior to the development of internal solar farm roads. Accordingly, FRV wishes to modify approved transport access plans to enable a small number of construction vehicles to travel further along Benambra Road – western section – towards Schneider’s Road.
Use of this section of Benambra Road would be limited to TransGrid vehicles associated with construction of the substation. There would be a maximum of 10 trucks per day using the western section of Benambra Road during the peak construction period, lasting approximately 6 months.
These proposed modifications must be assessed and approved by the NSW Department of Planning (DPIE). FRV will provide DPIE with detailed reports to enable DPIE to assess the possibility of additional environmental impacts following these changes. DPIE will release these reports for public consideration via their Major Projects website – see link here.