Construction underway at twin merchant solar farms in the Riverina


The Leeton and Fivebough projects, to be constructed on the outskirts of Leeton, will extend over 37 hectares and supply power to the grid of Essential Energy as non-scheduled generators.

Each plant will feature bifacial PV modules mounted on single-axis trackers and will have a capacity of 4.9 MWac/7MWdc. Together they are expected to generate approximately 27.8 GWh of clean energy per year.

Photon Energy Australia managing director Michael Gartner said the two solar farms are the largest projects to be added to the Netherlands-based company’s portfolio to date, and its first merchant projects, selling electricity into the National Electricity Market (NEM).

“We thank the Leeton Shire Council for their support to make these projects possible and are proud to be adding to Australia’s arsenal of reliable, clean and competitive fleet of solar power generation supplying a region which has significant power demands,” he said.

“We will participate directly in the … NEM and with single-axis tracking technology we will be able to optimise power generation to take advantage of market opportunities with the flexibility of adding energy storage in the future.”

Construction of the Leeton and Fivebough solar farms is expected to be completed later this year and will expand Photon’s global PV portfolio of power plants to 88.7 MWp.

Earlier this year Photon confirmed no power purchase agreements (PPAs) had been entered into but Gartner said they may play a role in the plants’ future revenue management strategy, alongside other price-hedging options.

“We will be actively managing the plants in response to changes in market pricing, as well as planning for the addition of energy storage, to enable the plants to position themselves in the market,” he said.

The project’s construction phase is expected to create up to 50 jobs.

Leeton Shire Mayor Paul Maytom said the project had been a long time coming and council was “delighted” construction had begun.

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