Risen touts local contractors, construction on 121 MW Yarranlea begins “in earnest”

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Risen is deploying two local contractors on the early stages of construction of its Yarranlea Solar Farm project. Sedl Contractors and Byrne Surveyors, both from Toowoomba, have contracted by Risen to carry out the bulk earthwork and surveying on the project. Yarranlea is located around 50km west of Toowoomba.

In a statement Risen says that it hopes to use local contractors “where possible” on future construction stages including establishing the foundations for the mounting systems, module installation, electrical assembly, cabling and commissioning. It notes, however, that “this is specialized work”. Around 200 people are expected to employed during construction.

Risen, which is carrying out the design and EPC of the project, will use “the latest” module technology from its production lines in China. The company may also choose to use lower-cost Chinese power electronics and mounting structures, presumably tracking, bringing down the project Capex.

Risen reports that it is working with Ergon to develop a switching station to allow it to connect to the grid operator’s 110kV power lines. Once complete, it will supply power to the Toowoomba and Darling Downs area via the Ridge Bulk Supply Substation.

Yarranlea is an ambitious project for Risen to undertake, as previous indications are that it will rely on revenues from selling power on the NEM spot market. Battery storage is planned for the site, “eventually”, in order to capture peak wholesale pricing.

The project was acquired by Risen in February. Module installation is slated to continue in the coming months, and continue throughout 2019.

In the wake of the China market downturn, currently underway as a result of severe government policy changes announced on May 31, module makers may show an interest in Australia’s large scale solar project pipeline. While project development and module production may make for uneasy bedfellows, such captive projects can deliver steady demand for modules when the market is in oversupply.