800MW solar farm '36 years in the works'
WITH a potential 800MW capacity, the Gympie Energy Hub is a far cry from Scott Armstrong's 30MW solar plant beginnings.
However, the managing director of Solar Q, the company behind the plan to create Australia's largest solar farm near Gympie, says the proposed development is simply the natural progression of his own experience.
"This is the culmination of 36 years of work," he said.
Although Solar Q was only registered last month he said the project team - which included his brother Alex and their partner Stuart Border - had been "working together for a while" on the hub.
Now having taken their first step towards making the project a reality, Mr Armstrong said he was "absolutely rapt" over what the future could hold.
He has an extensive background in the energy industry, including 15 years maintaining coal fired power plants and working on other solar projects around Australia.
Caloundra-based Mr Border has an extensive real estate background and is currently director of an independent agency, while Alex Armstrong has spent more than 40 years working in the Australian and international mining industries.
Mr Armstrong said the three had come together with the goal of producing "a very efficient, huge scale project" for south-east Queensland.
Gympie Mayor: 'Solar project a wonderful thing for Gympie'
Manufacturers and suppliers in Gympie are set to be the big winners if the proposed plan goes ahead, Mayor Mick Curran said.
Expected to create 450 jobs during the 18-month construction phase, Cr Curran said the Gympie Energy Hub would put Gympie "on the map".
While the project - which would be the largest solar farm in Australia - was still had to clear a number of requirements, he said he did not expect there to be any problems.
"It's a well thought out proposal and we certainly don't expect to have any great problems in so far as our town planning scheme, environmental issues and the use of the land as it stands."
"Nothing's jumping out at this stage that would be a handbrake for this project.
"It's a wonderful thing for Gympie, a project of this size other than the early days of mining - in dollar value - hasn't come to this region."