Massive solar+storage projects move forward in South Australia

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South Australia (SA), the nation’s traditional renewable energy leader, could welcome two new projects that will feature some of Australia’s largest utility-scale solar arrays and and the biggest energy storage facilities.

A newly emerged proposal for around 500 MW (AC) of solar PV collocated with 250 MW/1000 MWh of battery storage comes from consultants Energy Projects Solar. 

The project located around five kilometers north-east from Robertstown will be built in stages and will likely incorporate synchronous condensers that can support reliability or security of electricity supply.

The second project planned for the same region is the Solar River Project, which received the development approval mid last year and is now gearing up to break ground, as planned.

As reported by The Advertiser, an “early contractor involvement” deal has been inked with Sydney-based diversified infrastructure company Downer Group, which is already building Australia’s largest solar farm.

The Solar River Project comprises a 200 MW solar PV and 120 MWh of battery storage, and is likely to add another 200 MW of solar and 150 MWh of battery storage in a second stage if the proposed high-voltage transmission line to Victoria goes ahead.

The project is specific for being a 100% privately funded development with a 60/40 merchant/PPA structure. It is being developed by a company based out of the University of Adelaide’s ThincLab accelerator and comes with a price tag of $450 million.

These two projects are among Australia’s largest solar farms currently in the development pipeline, such as innogy’s 349 MWp Limondale Solar Farm and Maoneng’s the 255 MWp Sunraysia Solar Farm in New South Wales, Total Eren’s 256.5 MWp Kiamal Solar Farm in Victoria.

The energy storage facilities will also be among the nation’s largest, including the South Australian Tesla big battery (110 MW/129 MWh) at the Hornsdale Power Reserve and a 120 MW/140 MWh energy storage facility proposed by SIMEC Zen Energy, as part of UK steel billionaire Sanjeev Gupta’s 1 GW dispatchable renewable energy program for South Australian industrial town Whyalla.

The Solar River project is scheduled to begin generation in Q4 this year. Once approved, the Robertstown project is envisaged to be completed in six years.