Late last week (December 1) Indian-Australian utility scale PV developer Sun Brilliance Power was granted permissions to connect to Western Australia’s grid and feed power into the South West Interconnected System (SWIS). The agreement lays the basis for the first stage 85 MW(dc) project to get underway in Q1 2018.
Once completed, the $150 million project will be the largest PV power plant in Western Australia and the largest project developed on a merchant basis nationally. The plant will generate revenues from the sale of its projected 200,000 large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) a year and the wholesale power fed into the SWIS.
Sun Brilliance has signed both an interconnecting works (IWC) contract and an electricity transfer access contract (ETAC) with Western Power. In announcing the news, the developer commended the Western Power team for its work on the contract process.
The power plant, with the first phase scheduled for completion in Q3 2018, had applied to connect to the SWIS via a 132 kV power line 2km south of the project site. The project’s second phase will have a capacity of 28 MW(dc), bringing the total to 128 MW(dc).
The developer says the Cunderdin Solar Farm will employ 150 people during the construction phase.
It is being financed through a 30/70 equity/debt split. While further financing details have not yet been released, Sun Brilliance’s Ray Wills had previously told the ABC that despite there not being a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) under which it will sell electricity that there had been strong interest in the project from Australian and international investors and lenders.
The project had originally been slated for a capacity of 25 MW(ac) and was increased given rising LGC and wholesale prices, and falling utility scale solar costs. Over the course of development, its price tag has also fallen from a $160 million slated in December 2016, to $150 million today.
The PV power plant will deploy single axis tracking increasing not only its overall power output, but also generation during the early morning and evening period.