A $3.5 million grant will flick the switch for the construction of the 15,000-panel solar in Manilla, breaking new ground for cheaper and sustainable energy.
Manilla Community Renewable Energy’s president Emma Stilts said a development application is expected to be lodged later this month.
The Manilla Community Renewable Energy Co. is developing the project in partnership with Providence Asset Group.
Construction of the grid-connected Manilla solar farm is expected to start in June 2020, with electricity generation anticipated by April 2021.
NSW Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean announced the funding, adding the $3.5 million – from the NSW Government Regional Community Energy Fund – would assist with energy-storage requirements for a solar farm at Manilla, near Tamworth.
"In a NSW first, a hydrogen energy storage system will be installed at Manilla alongside a solar-battery system to store renewable energy,” he said.
“Hydrogen has the potential to transform our economy and energy mix. World-leading green hydrogen initiatives like the Manilla Community Solar project will play a critical role in developing this technology.
“These innovative renewable energy projects will help to make electricity more reliable and affordable for our regional communities.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson congratulated MCRE and the group’s president Emma Stilts on the success of the grant.
“This is fantastic news for the Manilla community, it will offer locals a chance to buy cheaper electricity that is produced right at their back door," he said.
“I’ve been working closely with Emma and her organisation to land this grant and to get the green light for the funding. The time is right for this 4.5-megawatt solar farm and I know it will be game-changer for Manilla residents and around the region.
“The community of Manilla have been leading the way in the push for renewable energy through events like the Manilla 100 mile night which focussed on how community-owned renewables can benefit regional communities."