New South Wales is poised to add over 460 MW to its solar PV fleet under construction, as German EPC contractor Belectric has confirmed it is well prepared to start the construction works for the first of the two solar plants in the upcoming weeks.
Earlier this year, Belectric secured the EPC contract for the 347 MWp Limondale Solar Farm, Balranald, Far West NSW, and the 115 MW Hillston Sun Farm, Hillston, Central West NSW, after the two projects were acquired by its parent company innogy SE, the clean-tech spinoff from one of Germany’s major utilities, RWE, for an estimated €400 million (AU$630 million).
After the two project were bought from developer Overland Sun Farming, innogy informed pv magazine that neither Limondale nor Hilston had PPAs, and that it intended to sell the plants’ output on the wholesale market – meaning they were to become the country’s largest merchant projects by a considerable margin.
These are two of the 10 projects approved by the NSW government in 2017, which was double the number of projects that got a green light compared to 2016, with an accumulated capacity of nearly 1.2 GW.
As announced earlier, the Limondale project is expected to commence construction in Q2 2018, while the Hilston Sun Farm should break ground “by the latest” in Q3 2018. Both project are pencilled in for completion by the end of 2019.
“For us as EPC provider with close to two gigawatt of executed projects all over the world, Australia is a promising market to further strengthen our global leading position”, explains Martin Zembsch, Managing Director of Belectric Solar & Battery GmbH.
With the new projects, Belectric will considerably expand its PV business Down Under, via its Australian subsidiary Belectric Australia Pty. Ltd, based in Moorabbin, Victoria.
So far, the company has been involved in a number of Australian projects, including: the 4.77 MW Chillamurra solar plant at Goondiwindi Queensland, the 10.8 MW solar system at Barcaldine Queensland and the 3.3 MW solar project at Dareton NSW.
The impact that Belectric will have on the Australian market – with this increased pipeline and enhanced operations – will be interesting to observe. Belectric has long been a highly innovative EPC played in the European marketplace, in working extensively with thin film modules during periods of high c-Si prices, being ahead of the curve in deploying 1500V architectures, and in integrating battery storage alongside utility scale PV.