The Solar Farm

SkillsOne chats to Gareth Fleming, who is an electrical engineering apprentice with Energy Australia. He works with their Solar Energy program. He shows us about the difference between their solar panels, and how they operate to create power. He takes us on a tour of the Solar farm, and shares the best part of working in the industry!

About Energy Australia's Solar Energy Program:

EnergyAustralia is one of the largest energy suppliers in Australia with 100 years experience.

Solar Energy is the name given to the energy that is produced from the sun’s rays.

Photovoltaic (PV) cells turn the sun’s light into electricity which is a direct current (DC), like the electricity from a battery.

Energy Australia’s 400kW Singleton solar farm is the largest solar power installation in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of the largest 20 solar power stations in the world as at 2002. The total site area is 2.75Ha – the equivalent of five football fields.

The PV Modules are supported by steel framing facing true north and angled at 30 degrees to the horizontal.

Annual energy production from the solar farm is about 600,000kW/h.

It also prevents the release of almost 600 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually.

About Gareth:

Gareth started out with an Electrical Apprenticeship December 1992. Was out in the field for a number of years as he progressed within the company.

He never completed school, but has embraced educating himself in his trade.

He did Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Electrical Engineering, and completed a Bachelor of Engineering Degree at university over six years part time.

He had to adjust to the difference in workload between TAFE and university, but he did so and eventually graduated with First Class Honours.

He also has an Overhead Line worker’s trade. He believes that a trade is a great place to start for young people today, and would encourage more young people to pick up a trade. He knows that a trade is not a second rate education, nor does it hold you back.

He says that he is proof that a trade can lead to further education if desired.

Gareth has always been interested in green energy sources and likes the fact that he’s a part of something positive.

VJ Matthew Jenkin