As a partner in Hepburn Z-NET, Hepburn Wind has begun developing a mid-scale solar farm that will offset local emissions by producing renewable energy. This solar farm will generate enough energy to power approximately 2000+ residential homes and deliver community benefits through the Hepburn Wind Community Fund.
Located 10km south of Daylesford on the Ballan-Daylesford Road, the solar farm will be co-located with the two existing turbines ‘Gale and Gusto’ at the Leonards Hill site.
About the project
In 2017 Hepburn Wind installed a solar monitoring device to determine if Leonards Hill would be suitable for solar. With positive results, the co-operative began seeking pro-bono advice to map the potential of a community-owned solar farm.
Early feasibility work demonstrated that mid-scale solar at the Leonards Hill site could double the co-operatives renewable energy capacity. With 7.44MW of solar, the solar farm would abate the emissions of an additional 2000+ residential homes and create meaningful income for the community and members.
In November 2018 Hepburn Wind received a $500,000 grant from the State Governments’ Community Renewables Program. Since then a number of detailed technical assessments have been completed for the project.
Refer to our timeline below for a breakdown of the project milestones.
Secured $500,000 grant
December 2019 - March 2020
Planning permit submission
Financing, preconstruction, construction and operation
Hepburn Wind will aim to submit a planning permit amendment to the Planning Minister in 2020. Importantly, many key documents that were part of the wind farm planning process will be utilised and amended where possible. Hepburn Wind will transparently list any key documents as they become available. Please read through the relevant documents listed below if you would like more information on planning processes or compliance activities.
Hepburn Wind is most grateful to all of the pro bono and discounted work that partner organisations have contributed towards the project. We would like to thank DNV GL, Renew, Enhar Consulting, Fulcrum 3D, Powercor, Sustainability Victoria, DELWP, Ecological Partners and Latitude.
1. Why are we developing a solar farm?
Hepburn Wind is a key partner in the Z-NET Community Transition Pilot which aims to reach zero-net energy by 2025 and zero-net emissions by 2030. Hepburn Wind is well placed to contribute to the 2025 target as the co-operative has both the technical capacity and physical infrastructure needed to build a mid-scale solar farm. This solar farm would more than double Hepburn Wind’s renewable generation capacity and would benefit our co-operative members with stronger financial returns.
2. Is solar an efficient and reliable way to produce electricity?
Solar is a highly efficient way to produce electricity and combined with wind, the energy profile will be far more consistent than if it were solar or wind alone.
3. Do emissions from manufacturing solar outweigh benefits?
No, it is a common misconception. Most good quality solar panels will offset the carbon needed to manufacture, ship and install them within the first two years of operation.
4. Who is the Responsible Authority for this project?
As this is an amendment to the existing planning permit the Hepburn Shire Council is responsible for planning approvals and permit decisions related to this project. The council is subject to state planning legislation which and the discretion of the Minister for Planning.