The University of Queensland has officially taken ownership of the Warwick Solar Farm project, sealing a 25-year commitment to the Southern Downs.
Final design of the $125 million solar farm will now begin, with construction to create up to 100 jobs from early next year.
The project will make UQ the first university in the world to offset 100 per cent of its electricity needs from its own renewable energy asset.
It will generate 160,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy per year when fully operational - displacing 125,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per annum, the equivalent to taking 48,600 cars of the road.
UQ Chief Operating Officer Greg Pringle said the University was excited to have entered the next phase of the project after key project milestones were met by renewables developer, Terrain Solar.
“UQ is investing over the 25-year life of the solar farm and is keen to see the Southern Downs become a hub for sustainable energy research, education, and engagement,” Pringle said.
“The solar farm will employ about six people on an ongoing basis in operations and maintenance roles, including a full-time UQ facility manager.”
UQ said Lendlease would design and construct the project.
General Manager of Lendlease’s Energy & Technology business unit, Greg Locke, said the organisation looked forward to supporting Australia’s transition to clean energy.
“Providing local employment and supplier opportunities will be a key focus for us as UQ’s delivery partner,” he said adding that an industry briefing for potential employees and suppliers will be held this month in Warwick.
The project will include the planting of more than 30,000 native trees and shrubs along the six kilometres of the site’s boundaries.
UQ’s purchase of the project followed Terrain finalising a connection agreement with Ergon Energy, and the development approval which was granted by the Southern Downs Regional Council in June.