Cubbie Station’s cotton operations is said to be the largest irrigation property in the southern hemisphere. By December this year, it will be 40% powered by solar PV – with a 3.6 MW array set to begin construction in October. The cotton farm and processing operation is located in Dirranbandi South West Queensland, around 600km west of Brisbane.
There are plans to expand the Cubbie Solar Project from the first phase 3.6 MW to 7.2 MW, and to add battery storage. On its website, Cubbie Ag reports that “ultimately” it aims to supply the nearby towns of Dirranbandi and St George with electricity from its planned solar+storage systems.
Aevitas Group Limited, a subsidiary of VivoPower International, will design and construct the array.
“We are very pleased to have achieved this significant milestone in our strategy to offer holistic solar and battery storage solutions to commercial, industrial and government customers in Australia,” said Carl Weatherley-White, CEO of VivoPower in a statement.
The project is yet another demonstration of the competitiveness of solar PV in supplying industrial power consumers – particularly in rural and remote Australia. Ample renewable resources and available land is emerging as a competitive advantage for regional Australian businesses.
While some industrial power providers, such as Aggreko, are beginning to offer on-site industrial power solutions as a rental or as-a-service model, a fully-owned subsidiary of Cubbie Ag will own and operate the PV array. Interestingly, Cubbie Station is looking not only to power its own operations with on-site solar once expanded, but potentially the residents of local towns.
“Technical advances continue to drive the competitiveness of solar power generation and battery storage, and we have seen increased interest from our customers for similar solutions,” said Phil Lowbridge, GM of J.A. Martin Electrical Pty Ltd, the division of Aevitas that will design and construct the solar system.