Just weeks after it was acquired by Italian oil major Eni, the Northern Territory’s Katherine Solar Farm is all set to break ground next month with an EPC contractor on board.
UK’s large-scale solar contractor British Solar Renewables (BSR EPC) has been awarded a contract to deliver engineering, procurement and construction for the state’s largest solar project developed by a joint venture set up by Australia’s Epuron and the UK-based Island Green Power.
The 33 MW solar array will be coupled with a 6 MW battery with the goal to provide stability to the Northern Territory’s 200 MW grid through frequency response and ramp-rate control, and final contracts are currently being signed with all equipment suppliers, BSR EPC says.
The self-styled pioneer in the UK energy storage market, BSR EPC, constructed one of the UK’s largest batteries (49.9 MW) in December 2017. Overall, it has 550 MW of solar and energy storage projects under its belt on the home turf, including the four largest solar parks and the nation’s first unsubsidized commercial & industrial solar PV system (15 MW).
“2019 is forecast to become the first year that global solar installations top 100 GW and we are excited to contribute to this impressive milestone with our first project in Australia,” said Graham Harding, Managing Director of BSR Group.
While it will continue operations in the U.K. and Europe, BSR EPC has opened an office in Sydney in a bid to support its Australian operations.
Construction on the Katherine solar and storage facility is slated to begin in March and the project will be operational starting from the fourth quarter of 2019. Upon the completion of construction, BSR will also be providing operations and maintenance services.
Earlier this month, the project was acquired by Italian oil group Eni for an undisclosed amount. The move marked the company’s first foray into the Australian renewables market, expanding on its existing assets in the oil and gas sector in the country.
The $40 million project was greenlit in October as the largest renewable energy generator in the state, marking a big step towards the NT Labor government election commitment to 50% renewables by 2030.
The solar farm has secured a long-term offtake deal with state-owned utility Jacana Energy, and is forecast to increase renewable energy use in the Territory by 3-4%, putting downward pressure on electricity prices.