Solar farm for tip

THE old tip site in South Fremantle is set to be the first contaminated piece of land in Australia to have a solar farm built on it.

This week Fremantle city council granted a 12-month exclusivity period to First Solar, which is proposing to build a 7–10 megawatt farm on the 19.4 hectare site. The global firm saw off seven competing bids for the land and will work with the council on getting the necessary environmental and regulatory approvals.

Mayor Brad Pettitt says the council is looking at granting First Solar a 20–25 year peppercorn lease on the site.

“I think this is an innovative solution for a piece of land that is contaminated,” he says. “Most other options wouldn’t be cost-effective and, if successful, I’m hopeful that Fremantle could set a trend for similar contaminated sites in Australia to be transformed.”

3000 homes

The farm operators believe they’ll generate enough energy to power around 3000 homes and Dr Pettitt is hopeful Fremantle will be amongst its first customers.

“It would be great if Freo council could use power generated by the farm on its very own doorstep,” he says. “The solar farm also aligns with the city’s vision of becoming a zero-carbon city and has the added benefit of creating local jobs.”

The tip was shut in 1991 and is registered under the contaminated sites act. Environmental and geotechnical constraints make it unsuitable for most forms of development for the next 20 years.

Almost 90 per cent of the site is owned by the council with the remainder owned by WA Main Roads. First Solar, a US company, has more than 10 gigawatts installed worldwide.


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