About Winton Solar Farm

Winton Solar Farm is located around 25km south-west of Wangaratta, near the town of Winton, in the shire of Benalla in central north Victoria. The site covers approximately 250Ha of agricultural land currently used for livestock grazing. Winton Solar Farm will use the latest in solar energy generation technology. Solar energy will be captured using solar panels – like those seen on household rooftops – that will track the sun throughout the day to capture solar energy – a clean, infinite energy source.

The project received development approval in January 2018 and is now in detailed design. The final design of the project prior to construction will determine the plant configuration, layout and specific equipment to be used, as well as the solar farm’s electricity generating capacity. At this stage, a capacity of up to 85MWac is envisaged. This is enough clean energy to power 52,000 homes.

Environmental studies will be taken into account during the design phase to ensure that any potential impacts on native vegetation, birds or animals are minimised or avoided. This includes impacts to the Regent Honeyeater and other bird species known to be in the area.

It is envisaged that construction could commence sometime in late 2018 and be completed in around 12 months. The plant will have an operating life of around 30 years.

Consultation with residents and stakeholders is also underway to help inform our plans for the solar farm site.

Peak Power: 85 MW AC
Annual Production: 210,000 MWh/Year
CO2 Avoided: 150,000 t/Year
Households Supplied: 52,000 Homes
Surface: 250 Hectares
Operation Date: Late 2019 (expected)
System Type: Single Axis Tracking Systems

Why Winton?

Increasing the use of solar energy to power our homes and businesses is important to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, responsible for the damaging impacts of climate change. Northern Victoria is particularly well-suited to the generation of solar energy because of the volume of sunlight it receives.

The area is valued by its residents for its beauty, natural environment, heritage and community spirit. Surrounding land is used for agricultural purposes, including wool and meat production, dairying and broadacre crop farming.

Solar will also help diversify local economic production by introducing a long-term, sustainable industry that provides economic and social benefit to the surrounding region.

What will it look like?

Design and layout of the Winton solar farm will be in accordance with local planning laws and will aim to protect the amenity of nearby residents. Typically, solar farm developments are low profile, with solar panels mounted in rows on a tracking mechanism to follow the sun from East to West, increasing the efficiency and output of the plant.

This makes them relatively unobtrusive as they will be at the same height or lower than other existing features in the landscape. Landscaping will also be planned and provided to provide screening for residents within the vicinity of the property.

The solar farm will connect directly into the existing Glenrowan substation, which sits next to the site and is owned and operated by AusNet.

The Technology

  • The technology likely to be used is solar PV-Polycrystalline modules with a horizontal, single-axis tracking system. The panels will be up to approximately 3m high above ground level including the mounting structures
  • Environmental studies will be completed during the design phase to ensure that any potential impacts on native vegetation, birds or animals are minimised.
  • The project will deliver significant benefits to communities within the Benalla district and wider community:
    - It creates job opportunities during construction and operation. It is estimated that up to around 150 workers will be required to construct the project.
    - It brings investment to the area and delivers additional indirect economic opportunities to local businesses including local grocery stores, restaurants, cafés, accommodation providers and petrol stations
  • It delivers clean, zero emissions electricity to meet the region’s energy needs and helps further the development of the Australian clean energy industry
  • For more information, click here to download the project factsheet