Collinsville solar project begins feeding electricity into grid

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The site of Collinsville coal-fired power station and mine is turning into Queensland’s solar hotspot, with a number of utility-scale solar projects shaping up in the region.

The latest announcement by project developer RATCH-Australia confirms that 42.5 MW of solar capacity at a shuttered coal-fired power plant south of the town of Collinsville is almost complete, with first batch of solar panels powered up.

“First generation is a meaningful milestone as we’re now generating and exporting electricity to the grid. We’ll be ramping up the amount of generation as the project reaches completion point next month,” said Anthony Yeates, Ratch EGM Business Development.

The existing electrical substation and other infrastructure at the site, originally built for the coal-fired power station, have been refurbished for the purpose of the PV project.

“The project showcases how old coal-fired generation sites can be repurposed as new renewable energy bases, benefiting from existing infrastructure, while helping to transform Australia’s energy mix,” says Yeates.

The 42.5 MW project secured financial backing last year from state-owned green lender Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to the tune of $60 million in addition to $9.50 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

As reported last year, there are five major solar PV projects in the region, all of which have secured CEFC financing. Not far away from the Collinsville Solar Farm, the 150 MW Daydream Solar Farm, the 50 MW Hayman Solar Farm, the 57.5 MW Whitsunday Solar Farm and the 57.5 MW Hamilton Solar Farm are all at various stages of construction or completed.

Sydney-based electricity distributor Alinta Energy has agreed to buy LGCs and up to 70% of the electricity generated at the 42.5 MW Collinsville solar project through to 2030.

The project will deliver in the order of 130,000 MW hours of renewable energy, which is predicted to meet the annual needs of approximately 15,000 Whitsunday homes over a 20-year period.

RATCH owns and operates several renewable energy projects in Australia including the 180 MW Mount Emerald Wind Farm near Mareeba which is due for completion in November.