Construction begins on Collinsville solar farm

Construction of the $100 million Collinsville solar photovoltaic (PV) project has started.

Project developer Ratch Australia Corporation broke ground this week on the 42.5MW project after reaching financial close in May.

The project is expected to produce enough energy to meet the needs of almost 15,000 homes.

Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, UGL Limited, assumed formal control of the site late last month.

Initial works will be focused on the development of a laydown area and site office, as well as establishment of the access roads into the site, which is adjacent to the old Collinsville coal-fired power station.

Civil construction, earthworks and other preparatory activities are at the top of the work schedule ahead of the first of 163,000 solar photovoltaic panels to be delivered to site in September.

Several businesses from the Whitsunday’s region are involved in the construction activities and Ratch construction manager Glenn Rice confirmed that both companies were keen to ensure participation from local suppliers wherever possible.

“Ratch has found the best project outcomes are delivered when as many local people and businesses are involved as possible,” Mr Rice said.

“The region is well known for the depth of industrial capabilities and skills plus an understanding of how to deal with local climate conditions is a huge asset.

“We are excited to get works underway after such a long planning and development process.

“We’re confident we have the right team in place to deliver a world class solar farm, and we are on track to be operating by this time next year.”

Ratch owns and operates several renewable energy projects in Australia and is also managing the construction of the 180MW Mount Emerald wind farm near Mareeba, which is due for completion in September next year.