The solar farm is expected to have a negligible effect on aviation. It involves the construction of no tall structures (modules are ground mounted, typically less than a few metres tall) and hence there is little possibility of radio or radar interference.
Aviators often express concern about glare and reflection although this is really only an issue for solar thermal plants, which utilise mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto a (linear or point) receiver. Photovoltaics by contrast are flat and therefore reflect only diffusely (i.e. not into a point or a line). Solar PV panels are specifically designed to absorb sunlight. In order to do this, they are dark-coloured, have anti-reflective coatings and reflect only a small portion (approximately 10%1) of the light which falls onto them.
Agricultural vegetation by comparison typically reflects between 18% and 25%2 of the light which falls onto it, meaning that PV arrays typically reflect less light than does the surrounding vegetation.
1. Lasnier and Ang. 1990. Photovoltaic Engineering Handbook. New York: Taylor & Francis.
2. Budikova, Dagmar. 2010. "Albedo." Encyclopedia of Earth.Washington,D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment. Retrieved Jan 20th, 2010 at 11.53 pm http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/149954/
It is a key objective of ecological assessments to suggest measures to avoid, reduce and mitigate any potential impacts and great care has been taken in the siting of the solar arrays in order to minimise these impacts. Detailed ecological field assessments undertaken over the entire site area identified sensitive areas for both flora and fauna. Where environmental impacts cannot be avoided entirely DP Energy will be required to offset any residual environmental impacts resulting from the proposed project. The scale of these offsets is determined according to well established formula laid down in legislation.
DP Energy will consult with the relevant authorities in order to assess and mitigate against any possible fire risks associated with the proposed development. Solar farms, by their nature tend to cover (and therefore shade) the vast majority of the land on which they sit. For operational reasons, the vegetation within the project must be controlled throughout the lifetime of the project. In terms of the infrastructure itself, there always remains the possibility of fires, however due to the lack of natural fuel, and the good access provided by the tracks servicing the project, the fire risk is greatly reduced.
Given its scale, the Project will inevitably have some visual impact, however this is naturally limited by the low aspect ratio of the solar PV fields. DP Energy will work with the planning authorities to manage the visual impact of the Project to acceptable levels.
The project is expected to be built out in phases over a 30 month period commencing in 2020, with all phases being fully energised and delivering renewable energy into the South Australian electricity network by Q3 2022.
Solar modules produce no sound other than that produced by the wind flowing past them. Neither do batteries produce any noise. Inverters, transformers, synchronous condensers and their associated cooling and ventilation systems do produce noise, however measures will be taken to ensure that the Project will conforms with the relevant guidelines, specifically the Environment Protection (Noise) Policy 2007.