Meralli Solar has rolled out a small, battery-ready solar project at Baroota, South Australia completing the installation of 23,200 solar panels in just eight weeks. The short construction time is due to the use of Belectric PEG frame system, which makes it possible to install more efficiently and create less environmental impact.
The developer is using the same technology on all of its projects, claiming that the PEG frame system can overcome many hurdles associated with costs, connection issues and getting PPAs. “It is quick to install – the equivalent of 1 MW per week, compact – 1.4 MW per hectare, and cheaper installation – less than $1.00 per watt complete,” it says on its website.
The technology is touted as more environmentally friendly, with solar panels sitting less than a metre high and requiring no concrete footings. “We believe the PEG system, in particular the Meralli ‘version,’ represents a more sensible and sustainable use of resources in deploying solar photovoltaics,” said Jeff Packer, Managing Director of Watt Power Brokers. “We had considered a single-axis tracker but at the end of the day PEG was a ‘No-brainer’ for us!”
The 8.9 (DC) MW Baroota project features 385W solar panels and two MVPS2500 inverter stations. The solar farm – which was financed by a group of local investors in response to soaring electricity prices – is also battery ready.
“The Baroota project offered us the opportunity to build our own distributed energy project, demonstrating what is possible at a local level,” Parker said. “We anticipate battery storage as the energy landscape evolves. No multi-nationals here; just Australians finding a better way!”
Only weeks ago, Meralli unveiled another 9 MW project near Moree, touted as one of Australia’s smartest solar farms. The Kanowna project has opted for a combination of DC optimisers and DC-coupled battery architecture for central inverters to be able to dispatch electricity from the solar farm or the battery at times of peak demand and in the evening. This has in return made it possible to overcome connection challenges.
The same goes for the Baroota project. “The process went incredibly smoothly, and I’d also like to thank SA Power Networks, who couldn’t have been more helpful,” Packer added.
According to Meralli principal, Methuen Morgan the Baroota project exemplifies the opportunity for agricultural diversification. “Together with it providing the investors with an independent revenue stream once the planned batteries have been installed, it will contribute to the stability of the SA electricity grid,” he said.
The developer says it has a number of other projects either currently or imminently under way. “We are currently finalising the detail associated with another project in South Australia,” Morgan said. “We are working on a smaller 700 kW project at a feedlot in Queensland, two 6 MW projects in South Australia and two 9 MW projects in NSW.”