A quiet evolution: It’s not so quiet any more

Two weeks ago, ARENA WIRE brought you the 3-minute long mini documentary, A Quiet Evolution. It has been one of our most popular items ever.

In the Great Hall of Canberra’s Parliament House it entertained and informed the nation’s political leaders of all parties.

On Facebook it has reached 22,000 people (and still rising).

Here at ARENA WIRE it broke our record for the most readers on any story in one day.

And the momentum it has generated shows no signs of stopping.

So many of you have told us that you loved the short version that we didn’t want to leave more of this great story on the cutting room floor.

That’s why, by popular demand, we now bring you the “director’s cut,” a nine minute version of the film, introducing some new characters and a more detailed look inside the fascinating story of what happens when large scale solar comes to a regional centre like Parkes.

The film chronicles the birth of the Parkes Solar Farm, a 55 MW photovoltaic facility that features approximately 206,000 solar panels on 210 hectares near the NSW regional city.

It will soon be producing enough electricity to power 21,000 homes.

Parkes is one of 12 similar projects funded by ARENA’s Large Scale Solar funding round. The plant will use solar PV panels mounted on a tracking system that shifts the angle of the panels to follow the sun.

And that allows the maximum amount of sunlight to be captured by the solar panels for conversion into electricity. These panels are up to 50 per cent more efficient than the average solar panel.

For filmmaker Steve Doyle, who spent months planning, filming and editing the project and made multiple trips to Parkes to meet and interview those working on the site, this was a truly enjoyable experience and a labour of love.

Elvis Muriel on a brick wall
Parkes is a regional centre that is embracing renewable energy. IMAGE: ARENA.

“This was a fantastic project as I was given the latitude to go out & find the details of a story to deliver on a fairly broad brief,” he says.

“I did plenty of research so I had sufficient grasp on the subject matter –  which ranged from how a solar farm is constructed (development & financing through to connecting to the grid), to the basics of how the electricity grid works & to the role of ARENA within the bigger picture of the evolution of Large Scale Solar to the point where we are now – a commercially viable industry.”

As a town, Parkes has embraced renewable energy in a big way. It has the largest per capita uptake of rooftop solar on private homes of any town in the New South Wales. A Quiet Evolution is a film about ARENA’s big project, but it is also about the way that renewable energy has been embraced by the local community.

This article was originally written by Daniel Silkstone, former Head of Content, ARENA.