Recent months have seen the approval of many landmark developments of utility scale solar farms, such as the 2GW proposal in Bulli Creek, NSW and the 130MW proposal in Clair, QLD. These developments will take up vast amounts of land: the 130MW solar farm will take up 340 hectares of cane sugar fields, and the 2GW site over 5000 hectares of primarily cattle grazing land.
As the number of these large scale greenfield developments increase, so too arises the argument that these developments are encroaching on existing, land use. Solar developments occupy large tracts of valuable land that may otherwise be used for agricultural activities. Solar farms can be compared favorably to alternative uses such as mining. Not only can solar farm sites be easily rehabilitated at the end of their project life, but it is also possible for solar farms to offer dual-purpose land activities, providing land owners with an opportunity to diversify their land use and increase the overall value and productivity.
Featured: Energy Source & Distribution (September 2016)