Solar hotspot

AS power prices continue to surge, more private businesses are turning to generating their own power, with three medium-sized solar farms to be built at Bowmans in coming months.

Paringa-based renewable energy firm, Yates Electrical Services (YES), is the main proponent behind all three of them.

YES director, Mark Yates, said the largest of the three Bowmans projects, a two-megawatt system, has received planning approval from Wakefield Regional Council but is awaiting a buyer.

Mr Yates explained part of the YES business model operates around seeking out appropriate sites and organising relevant approvals, before putting the project on the market to be funded by an interested investor.

“We develop the sites to be shovel ready, with approvals from councils and SA Power Networks,” he said.

“Then we float the project site to see who wants it and there tends to be a lot of interest in these projects up to 5MW.

“If you go any bigger in size, you tend to hit a lot more hurdles with network technical standards and capacity that need to be met.”

The 2KW site has three interested parties in discussions at the moment.

Mr Yates, said the popularity of mid-sized solar projects are becoming increasingly popular in the private sector.

Two smaller private solar projects will be built across the road from the larger system, which will be located near the Bowmans industrial estate.

“You will see a lot more of them popping up across the state in the future,” he said.

“When we talk about medium sized projects, it’s anything up to 5MW, which will take up about four to five acres in total.

“A lot of farmers and primary producers are building one acre 200KW systems, which suits their individual operations.”

He said operators are reviewing returns on their property and repurposing land to bring in an alternative revenue stream.

The Bowmans location is also pretty handy, given the required 33,000-volt power line runs through the road between Balaklava and Port Wakefield.

One is a 200KW system, which is the first stage of a potential 800KW project should it progress to the second stage.

The other is also a 200KW system.

Mr Yates said locals can expect to see works begin at Bowmans in two to three weeks.

• Pictured: Yates Electrical Services director, Mark Yates, believes there will be a strong shift toward private businesses generating their own power, with three medium sized projects proposed to be built at Bowmans in coming months. Mr Yates has recently been outspoken about his local council going with a foreign-owned firm on an unrelated project to the Bowmans development.