By Anthony HallFremantle Council has approved the construction of a solar farm on top of a former rubbish tip. It’s part of the council’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2022. Renewable energy company Epuron and the council will install 8 hectares of solar panelling which will provide 4.9 megawatts of clean energy to Fremantle’s power grid. The site was used for waste disposal for more than 60 years. South Ward Councillor Jon Strachan has been fighting to see the site safely renewed for over a decade. He says Epuron has been a major contributor to the project’s success. “Epuron managed to work with the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources to confirm that if done properly, a solar farm there could allow them to sell their power to third party customers and that’s why it’s now become a viable option,” he says. The proposal is still in its early days as lease terms are yet to be discussed with the community. “If that is successful then we will move to the next phase which is presenting an Environmental Management Plan,” says Strachan. “As council will always be ultimately responsible for what happens on that land, they will need to be sure and review the EMP before any work can go ahead.” Mark Hankel is the operations manager for Suntrix Solar Systems, a solar energy business which helped install Australia’s first floating solar farm in Lismore. Hankel believes Fremantle is getting ahead of the game as more councils are re-using discarded land for energy purposes. “Looking at things like this and floating Solar systems turns unliveable space into a renewable resource platform that has ongoing benefits with minimal impact on the environment. “Initiatives such as this will become the norm in the near future as councils look for a positive use of otherwise non-usable space,” Hankel says.