A new solar farm planned near Byron Bay has attracted millions in state funding.
A new solar farm planned near Byron Bay has attracted millions in state funding.

$3.4m in funding dedicated to new solar farm project

A RENEWABLE energy project in the Byron Shire has been revealed as one of seven to receive a share of $15 million in state funding.

Seven regional energy projects have been announced as recipients of the funding through the State Government's Regional Community Energy Fund.

This includes a $3.5 million grant for Coolamon Energy to go toward the five megawatt Byron Bay Solar Farm and Battery Storage Facility, to be located in Ewingsdale.

The funds will go to Byron Bay Solar Farm Holdings Pty Ltd, a company specifically set up to develop the solar farm.

Project spokesman Craig Johnston welcomed the funding.

"The BBSF+ is a new 7.4MW DC/ 4.99 MW AC Photovoltaic solar farm with a 5MW/ 10MWh lithium-ion battery storage facility," Mr Johnston said.

"The design is innovative as it specifies a central inverter with DC coupled storage.

"We believe this is a first for an Australian regional community energy project."

He said the project wouldn't have been able to include battery storage without the state funding.

"The battery gives us greater flexibility to be able to deliver an on-demand element of locally generated renewable energy in the Byron Shire," he said.

"In terms of delivering value back to the community, we hope to be able to work with Enova Energy to be able to offer Byron Bay residents locally generated renewable energy from the sun from 2021 onwards.

"We are super excited about this project as it should provide around seven per cent of the Byron Shire's energy consumption from locally generated renewable energy."

Energy Minister Matt Kean said the entire pool of funding would unlock almost 17.2 megawatts of electricity generation and 17.9 megawatts (or 39.3 megawatt hours) of energy storage, leveraging $36 million in private funding.

"These grants will help regional communities right across NSW take control of their energy bills and benefit from the economic opportunities presented by changes in our energy system," Mr Kean said.

He said the projects range from a community-owned dispatchable solar and battery system at Goulburn to the installation of a 1 MW solar garden at Grong Grong in the Riverina while a hydrogen energy storage system will be installed in Manilla, northwest of Tamworth, in a NSW first.

"At Ewingsdale near Byron Bay, a grant will enable the installation of 5 MW of solar power and 10 MWh battery energy storage system," Mr Kean said.

"The DC coupled battery is a relatively new technology for Australia and enables excess solar energy to be captured more efficiently.

"These innovative renewable energy projects will help to make electricity more reliable and affordable for our regional communities."

The RCEF grants are funded under the NSW Climate Change Fund.

A full list of the successful applicants and projects is available https://energy.nsw.gov.au/regional-community-energy.