White Rock Solar Farm is a 20 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) development that is being proposed adjacent to White Rock Wind Farm (WRWF). The development would form a pioneering hybrid solar/wind renewable energy facility in the NSW New England Tablelands.
The solar farm would share the wind farm grid connection facilities and other infrastructure, including the substation, some access tracks and internal 33 kV underground electrical cabling. The shared infrastructure maximises the use of available facilities without requiring construction of additional infrastructure elsewhere. Co-location of the wind and solar projects also lowers the cost of the solar energy produced at the White Rock locality and reduces the variability in the electricity output from the combined facility.
Development of the solar farm considered a number of sites adjacent to the wind farm and selected the least impacting location at the northern extent of the wind farm site, close to the Gwydir Highway. Up to 70 hectares will be required for the solar infrastructure. A program of site studies, impact assessments and concept design development were completed as part of Development Application (DA) that was lodged in March 2016. Development Consent was granted in June 2016. In September 2016, the project was awarded funding under the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) large scale renewable energy program.
The solar farm would generate around 46,000 megawatt hours (MWh) in the first full year of operation, which is sufficient to power approximately 7,200 NSW homes annually. The operating life of the solar farm would be 25 – 30 years.