Haughton solar farm is being developed in Burdekin Shire in Queensland, Australia. Image courtesy of Burdekin Shire Council.
The first 100MW of Haughton solar farm is expected to be commissioned in 2019. Image courtesy of Burdekin Shire Council.

Haughton solar farm is being built 60km south-east of Townsville, Burdekin Shire, Queensland, Australia. It will have an installed capacity of 500MW, of which the first 100MW is currently being developed.

The 100MW unit is being built by Melbourne-based company Pacific Hydro Australia, which is owned by China’s State Power Investment. The unit is expected to have a life of approximately 25 years and will generate power for approximately 55,000 households.

The final investment decision on the project was taken in early-2018 and construction is expected to be completed by January 2019.

Pacific Hydro has proposed the construction of 200MW in first three years and further 200MW and 100MW within six years and eight years respectively, if permitted.

Haughton solar farm location

The project site is a property owned by Burdekin Shire Council and covers an area of 1,181ha. It is surrounded by the Haughton River in the north, and Piccaninny and Oaky creeks in the south.

The eastern boundary of the project site easement borders the Haughton Main Channel, which is operated by SunWater, a corporation owned by the Queensland Government.

Pacific Hydro chose the Upper Haughton development area for the construction of the power plant as it receives maximum sunlight when compared to other areas in the region.

Haughton solar farm make-up

The 100MW unit will comprise one million photovoltaic (PV) modules arranged in a horizontal grid pattern. The solar panels will be 3m-long, 4m-high and 2m-wide, and will be supported by a mounting structure featuring single-axis tracker structures, framing and pylons.

The facility will also include 23 inverter stations as well as a 33kV solar collector system.

The height of the substations and communication towers of the project will be 8m and 20m above the ground, respectively.

Power transmission 

The power generated will be fed into the 275kV Ross substation operated by Queensland Electricity Generating Board and further transmitted to the Strathmore electricity transmission line for delivery to Queensland.

A 33/275kV substation and a switchyard will be constructed adjacent to the existing Ross substation.

Contractors involved

Pacific Hydro awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract worth $1.75m to RCR Tomlinson, a company based in Australia, to develop the first 100MW unit of the solar plant.

The scope of contract also includes provision of operation and management services for up to five years with an option to extend by another five years.

Jacobs’ subsidiary, Jacobs Australia, carried out the hydraulic impact assessment study for the solar farm.

Powerlink has signed the connection and access agreement with Pacific Hydro for connecting the power plant to the national grid through a new 275 kV substation.

Northern Consulting Engineers prepared the traffic assessment report for the project. AECOM Australia, a subsidiary of AECOM, carried out an ecological assessment of the project site.