Equis Energy has received approval from the Western Downs Regional Council in Queensland to develop the 1,000MW Wandoan South Solar Project, one of the largest solar projects in Australia and the world.

Construction of the project, expected to cost $1.5 billion, is expected to begin in 2018 and to begin delivering power in 2019.

The project, covering 1,424 hectares of land, will be connected to Powerlink’s Wandoan South substation and will have the ability to add battery storage when commercially feasible. This will allow energy to be stored and will facilitate the generation of power into the evening.

“Equis is committed to developing large‐scale solar generation in rural areas to provide employment opportunities and support economic growth in local communities,” said Equis chairman David Russell.

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said the project will cement the Western Downs as the “energy capital” of Australia.

“The timeframe in which council has processed this application highlights the message we are open for business, and I think it is important to reiterate that although our approval process is rigorous, it is efficient,” McVeigh said.

The Wandoan South Solar Project brings to 1,276MW the total generation capacity for which Equis has received approval in Australia, involving an aggregate investment cost of $1.9 billion.

The project will incorporate up to 3 million solar PV panels and have a generation output of about 1.8 million MWh a year, power equivalent to the annual needs of 255,000 homes.