Frequently Asked Questions

What are the acronyms used below?

WSF- Wallaroo Solar Farm
DPE- NSW’s Department of Planning & Environment
EIS- Environmental Impact Statement
VIA- Visual Impact Assessment

Why was this site chosen for the Project?

After undertaking extensive investigations into suitable sites across Eastern Australia, Wallaroo Solar Farm was chosen based on several criteria, including.
• Optimal solar resources
• The availability of suitable land
• Proximity to electrical substations
• Environmental analysis of ecology, archaeology, and potential environmental constraints
• Access to grid connection with sufficient connection capacity
• Community support for renewable energy projects
• Existing land use quality and the capacity to rehabilitate post-decommissioning.

Is the Project permanent?

The project is expected to operate for approximately 30 years; at this point, further assessment will be completed on extending the project’s life; this assessment will involve discussions with Landowners, the Community, Local & State Governments, and business and special interest groups. If an extension to the project’s life is sought it would only occur after the above consultation and approvals from any required Government departments.

Under what guidelines/regulations will the project be assessed?

The Wallaroo Solar Farm was first issued Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) from DPE; during the EIS preparation, new regulations were released by the NSW Government (Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulation 2021) alongside new State Significant Development Guidelines. For this reason, the project will be assessed under the newer regulations and Guidelines.

How long will construction take?

Construction of the solar farm is expected to be completed in 18-24 months with a peak construction period of 12 months

Which roads will be used to access the project?

Project vehicles will access the site from the Barton Highway, proceed down Wallaroo Road, Gooromon Ponds Road, and turn left into the project site at Southwell Road. A traffic impact assessment has been completed, and as part of this, there will be marshaling points in surrounding areas where staff will get on buses to and from the site. This reduces the number of light vehicles on the access roads. Furthermore, there will be no heavy vehicle movements during the school bus pick-up and drop-off times in Wallaroo.

Do solar farms make noise?

Building a solar farm can be noisy during specific periods of construction. This is mitigated by work only being completed during regular working hours. Work outside these hours will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and can only occur if acceptable noise levels are maintained.
During operation, the solar farm is expected to make some noise; a noise assessment has been completed, which has found that no receivers will be subjected to noise above allowable limits

What environmental and cultural heritage factors have been assessed as part of the project?

As part of the Environmental Impact statement (EIS) for the project, NGH, environmental consultants to the Wallaroo Solar Farm have compiled detailed assessments and reports on the below while also addressing other potential concerns throughout the EIS
• Biodiversity
• Visual Impact
• Glint & Glare
• Social Impact
• Aboriginal and cultural heritage
• Preliminary Hazard
• Hydrological & Hydraulic
• Noise & Vibration
• Traffic

How will hazards such as fires be managed during the project?

While there is no inherent fire risk associated with solar farms, the project will have cleared vegetation areas surrounding the panel areas and all onsite activities will be in accordance with Federal, State and Local Government laws and requirements.

Will drones be used on-site?

Occasionally drones will be used to complete infrared scanning of the project. This is part of the operation and maintenance procedures. The drones will only fly and take images within the project footprint.

How many jobs will be created, and will you source them locally?

WSF is expected to provide up to 200 jobs during the construction period and 4-5 full-time jobs during its operational life. How will visual impacts be addressed?
A VIA was completed as part of the EIS. This has been done using DPE’s current large-scale solar guidelines. The VIA shows the potential visual impacts associated with the project as well as a proposed landscaping plan, that will incorporate native flora to break up views of the solar farm and attract native animals like bees.

How will the local community benefit from this project?

Wallaroo Solar Farm is committed to working with the local community and special interest groups to advance various environmental, social, and educational issues. This will be done through the community enhancement fund, where each year, funds will be made available to various groups to enhance the local area surrounding the project Further to this, energy produced by the project will be available to residents within 7km at a discounted rate through Local Volts, an online peer to peer energy company. The energy is expected to be offered at a 30% discount on current pricing.

What happens at the project’s end of life?

Decommissioning and rehabilitation of the site would be undertaken at the end of the Project’s useful life. Decommissioning would aim to return the land as close to its preconstruction condition as possible. The site would be left suitable for its existing or suitable alternative land use. Baseline soil mapping collected prior to construction would be used to verify the site has been returned to its existing (or better) land capability.

Where can I access information on the solar farm?

To view further information on the project, you can visit the NSW Department of Planning and Environments website at       http://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/wallaroo-solar-farm

From here you will be able to access all documents on exhibition.
Or scan the QR code to access the project page on the DPE website.

Do you have any further questions?

If you have any further questions please contact Ben Cranston to organise an online or in person meeting to discuss the project further