SMA to supply Greenough River second stage


German inverter supplier SMA continues to build on its strong presence in the Australian utility-scale PV market segment with a new deal to supply eight Medium Voltage Power Stations (MVPS) 5000 for the second stage of the Greenough River Solar Farm in Western Australia. The 1,500V MVPS solution combines two Sunny Central 2500-EV inverters with a transformer and switchgear – in a single 40-foot container.

“SMA is proud to be part of the second stage development of the project, we are delighted to see the solar market is accelerating in Western Australia,”, said Boris Wolff, the EVP for Business Unit, Large Scale and Project Solutions. “Our MVPS 5000 significantly contributes to Western Australia’s energy development. The expansion of solar farms increases the energy supply to the South West Interconnected System, ensuring to benefit more than 16,000 households.”

The 10 MW Greenough River Solar Farm was Australia’s first utility-scale solar power project when it was commissioned in WA in late 2012. Developed by joint venture partners Synergy and GE Energy Financial Services, the project’s output is purchased by WA Water Corp for its Southern Seawater desalination plant. While Stage 1 was developed as a fixed solar array, Stage 2 will see another 300,000 PV panels installed on NEXTracker single-axis tracking systems.

Work on the Stage 2 project came to a standstill following the termination of a $60 million contract with EPC contractor RCR Tomlinson, which entered administration late last year. After an extensive process associated with the contractor’s administration and liquidation, project owner, Synergy’s renewable energy joint venture Bright Energy Investments (BEI) chose German EPC contractor Juwi to complete the expansion of the Greenough River Solar Farm.

“The expansion of the Greenough River Solar Farm will be an important contributor to Western Australia’s energy supply and there has been a lot of hard work to gather the project back together and renegotiate a way forward,” said Tom Frood, the General Manager of BEI. “The new contract [with SMA] will enable the 30MW expansion to recommence immediately that will be expected to be completed in early 2020.”

According to Norwegian-based energy analyst Rystad Energy, SMA dominates the Australian inverter market with a 60% share, while second-place Ingeteam controls 23% of the market.

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