Frequently Asked Questions

Do solar panels work when the sun isn’t shining?

Yes. Solar panels do not require direct sunlight to operate but they do generate more electricity on sunny days.

How long do solar farms operate for?

Most solar farms typically operate for 25-30 years and will then be dismantled and the land returned to its original use. Most of the equipment has a scrap value and can be recycled.

How long will it take to build the solar farm?

A solar farm usually takes approximately 12-16 weeks to construct.

Do solar farms reflect sunlight and create glare?

Solar panels are designed to absorb as much light as possible, and are considerably less reflective than glass or natural materials such as water. Any glint that does occur is likely to be vertically, but studies by aviation authorities have confirmed that even pilots passing over solar panels are unlikely to be effected by glare. Solar panels have been installed at numerous airports in Australia, such as Adelaide Airport, Alice Springs Airport, Newman Airport (WA), and Ballarat Airport.

What are the visual impacts of a solar farm?

Due to the scale of solar farms, one of their major impacts is unquestionably visual. However, as the arrays have a relatively low profile (typically not more than 2.5m tall), hedgerows around the margins of a solar farm can restrict views significantly. In places where existing hedges are insufficient additional vegetation can be planted to help bulk these up and close gaps.

What is the ‘carbon payback period’ for solar panels?

For solar panels the carbon emissions generated from ‘cradle to grave’ (i.e. manfacturing, transport, maintenance and decomissioning) are usually ‘paid back’ with 6-18 months of operation. This is because the electricity is generated from sunlight and effectively displacing electricity from the grid, which is predominantly produced by burning fossil fuels.

Are there any increased flood risks?

Flood risk does not usually increase with the installation of solar farms. Typically a maximum of 5% of the site is penetrated during the construction process, and gaps between each solar panel avoids run off being concentrated along the lower edge of the arrays once they are in situ. Precautionary measures may still be taken, such as creating swales to intercept surface water runoff and using temporary trackways to avoid soil compaction during construction.

Does a solar farm create any noise?

Solar farms do generate some low level electrical noise from the inverter and switch gear during daylight hours, but these are located as centrally as possible to ensure they are not audible from any nearby roads, footpaths or residential properties.

Do solar farms increase traffic?

During the short construction phase, there will be an increase in the number of vehicles delivering materials to a site. We work closely with the local Highways Authority to prevent damage and minimise disruption. Once built the solar farm will need very little maintenance with only quarterly visits necessary.

Does the solar farm do any damage to the land?

A solar farm does very little damage to the land as sufficient sunlight and rainfall can get between the panels to maintain the plant life. The water runoff from the panels does not affect the natural drainage patterns. The absence of intense farming and associated chemicals will actually have a beneficial impact on the land.

Where does the electricity go?

The electricity generated at the solar farm will be fed into the local electricity network and used wherever there is demand.

What is the impact of a solar farm on property prices?

There is no evidence that solar farms affect property prices either positively or negatively. With the appropriate screening provided, the visual impact of a solar farm is negligible, they operate quietly and safely, they provide energy security for the local area and they foster flora and fauna.