Ballarat Solar Park Is 14,993 Square Metres Of Solar Goodness

Ballarat Solar ParkDown in Ballarat, Sharp and Origin have joined forces to create the Ballarat Solar Park, a 14,993 square metre park with solar tracking panels to follow the sun for optimum energy harvesting.

The park, which produces enough renewable energy to power about 150 homes, opened on Saturday November 28. According to the press release: "The Park is expected to generate approximately 420MWh of solar energy each year which will prevent approximately 567 tonnes of carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere each year." Nice.

Hopefully we'll start seeing a few more of these pop up around the place...

Sharp Corporation designed and constructed Ballarat Solar Park

With 50 years of experience in providing innovative solar technology, Sharp has firmly established its position as one of the world’s powerhouses in this technology. This experience has been further extended into design and construction of major solar farms around the world. In the Australian market Sharp Corporation has formed a firm alliance with Origin, Australia’s leading integrated energy company to provide a range of quality and reliable solar photovoltaic (PV) solutions to homes and businesses. This partnership has provided the opportunity for Sharp to design and construct a solar PV park which is an innovative concept in Ballarat. The Ballarat Solar Park includes tracking panels which are a unique innovation designed to follow the sun in order to capture the maximum amount of sunlight to generate more renewable energy than the standard solar fixed installations.

The Ballarat Solar Park is one of several initiatives from the Central Victoria Solar City project and part of the Australian Government’s $94 million Solar Cities Program. The Park officially opened Saturday, November 28.

Central Victoria Solar City consortium member Origin was responsible for managing construction of the Park, which was designed and constructed by lead contractor, Sharp Corporation on behalf of the Solar City project. The 300kW Ballarat Solar Park is expected to produce enough renewable energy to provide 150 households with solar power which is approximately the equivalent of these households installing a 2kW solar PV system on their roof. The Park is expected to generate approximately 420MWh of solar energy each year which will prevent approximately 567 tonnes of carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere each year*.

Located at Ballarat Airport, the area for the solar park is approximately 14,993 m2. The Park has a series of educational panels to help people visiting the area to learn about solar, renewable energy, how it works and its benefits. The park also has a viewing platform where visitors can view the solar installation.

Sharp’s Deputy Managing Director, Denis Kerr said, “Ballarat’s Solar Park and the Central Victoria Solar City project is a great initiative and one Sharp is proud to be a part of. It is an innovative way of generating local and renewable energy for now and the future.”

Sharp has pioneered solar gains in engineering, design and implementation of photovoltaic technology. Since the first mass-production of solar cells and installations of solar cells that powered navigational buoys in 1963, Sharp’s experience and dedication has led to innovation after innovation: developing solar cells for space-based satellites, inventing the first solar powered calculator, creating solar panels that can be used as exterior walls for skyscrapers, and manufacturing revolutionary thin-film solar panels that could lower the cost of generating electricity.

Sharp’s solar future is getting brighter. Sharp is constructing one of the world’s largest thin-film solar cell plants in Sakai city, Osaka Prefecture, Japan, which is scheduled to come on line by March 2010, embodying the solar commitment that Sharp has demonstrated for decades.

For more information on purchasing Sharp solar systems please call Origin on 1300 791 468 or visit

For more information about the Solar Parks or the Central Victoria Solar City project, please visit: or call 03 5479 1900.



    So this story makes me ask:

    How many homes are there in Australia, and in turn how much land would be required to power that number of homes?

      @Daryl i have read before that it would take an area the size of Spain or in Aussie terms about the size of south australia to power the world with solar electricity. This would be a combo of solar PV and solar thermal as there isn't enough arsenic in the world to make all the panels in the way photovoltaic panels are made today. This will also provide enough electricity or hydrogen to power all the worlds cars.
      My question is why aren't we debating this plan rather than the ETS? which at the end of the day is going to give at least $5 billion to coal miners who dig up "567 tonnes of carbon" every couple of minutes.

    Can that be right ... That means that each of the 100 homes would need about 100m2 'go off grid' so to speak ... Seems an awfully large area for such a meagre return?

    good. if the stupid stupid Australian government would wake up to its self more of these would follow. all that land we have.... what a waste

    i think this is a good idea, y cant the government pump money in to this instead of pushing the stupid ets TAX

    Thank goodness for some forward looking companies. I really don't know what the climate skeptics are going to tell their children when they ask "Why didn't anyone do anything?". "We didn't believe it" perhaps... fools

    Dale, the infrastructure costs to put these in inland Australia, plus maintenance due to the harsh conditions out there, plus a way of getting the power back to the coasts is prohibitive.

    My first thought was along Daryl's line. A coal station takes about 3km2, and powers about a third of Victoria (or so says Wiki, I couldn't find a better source). Can we really envision dedicated blocks of land, each one 14km2 just to power 150 homes?

      Currently Solar panels are not very efficient in turning their light energy into electrical energy. But there are scientists working on it, and that's what the government should put money into, Making solar panels more efficient and power storage. Not damn brown coal and carbon sequestration.

      It's not 14 square kilometres. It's 14,993 square metres, or in a square shape an area that is approximately 122.5m long by 122.5m wide or 0.015 square kilometres. 14 square kilometres would be 196,000,000 square metres!

      The article says that the farm can power 150 homes, which means that to power one home the area needed is 100 square metres, or approximately a square area of 10 metres by 10 metres, which is a fairly small area. Given houses have roofs, there is no real reason why an installation on each roof couldn't deliver the same result.

    A square kilometer is 1 million square meters so you could put 200 (30000 homes) of these in for a coal plant.

    Remember that 'enough renewable energy to power about 150 homes' is a very different number to that which is enough to power the lifestyle of the people living in 150 households. Most of your energy use each day occurs outside the household. The power for transportation, the production of your food and all the objects used in the home and out, the energy you use doing your work and entertaining yourself outside the home are all excluded.
    I'm not trying to throw cold water on this great effort. But just be aware that this 'enough for X households' metric can be misleading. It's very commonly used in promoting green projects, but it's not terribly helpful once you think about it.
    There's a great breakdown of how much energy you really use, and what alternative energy sources might conceivably cover that, out on the web done by some british engineer. If I can hunt it down again I'll post it up here.

    Why are the using parkland instead of putting this on top of a shopping centre or some other structure?

    Just a note, for people reading the above comments, 15 000 square meters is NOT 15 square kilometers.

      Now what about all the little bogans that are going to break in and graffiti or damage the solar panels?

    The conservatives are an anchor to the mistakes of the past: believe it, or not! *** Never trust a metrosexual! ***

    No doubt the infrastructure costs to put these out in central australia would be prohibitive, but there's no reason we can't use such a set up in conjunction with other facilities to a positive effect.

    I mean, some wind farms, some tidal energy, geothermal power, solar... There's probably no definitive one off replacement for burning coal, but there's a lot of things together that have great potential.

    With particular regard to solar, one change that doesn't get as much of a hearing as it should is heat pipe setups for water. They work great. They do require a small electric pump to operate, but this is the kind of thing you can actually run with a small solar panel on your roof. Plus, it's all small enough that it can conceivably work without some giant tract of land, at least in relatively low density housing areas. It's not a solution for cities, but suburbs and rural areas it would work great for.

    Underground water tanks and solar power panels or a percentage of power used by the house to come from renewable sources should be made compulsory in all new homes.

    Second, Ballarat, really do they want it to fail?

    Oops, didn't do my maths right there, did I! Well in that case, 122.5 x 122.5 metres seems pretty decent to power 150 homes.

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