Two new solar farms connected to grid as MPower pursues niche market


The Sydney-based MPower announced on Wednesday it had successfully connected the 5 MWac Kadina Solar Farm to the NEM, just days after confirming it had connected the 5 MWac South Hummocks Solar Farm to the national grid.

MPower was responsible for the full design and construction of the two solar farms as part of an estimated $9 million deal struck with project principal Astronergy Solar Australia, a subsidiary of Chinese module maker and EPC contractor Chint Energy.

Grid connection, including first energisation of the Kadina and South Hummock solar farms follows the commissioning phase which commenced at both sites last month.

MPower chief executive officer Nathan Wise said both projects, which comprise approximately 17,000 solar modules each and utilise single-axis tracking technology, are expected to reach commercial operations in the coming weeks and then be capable of exporting power at full capacity to the grid.

“It’s great to see MPower achieve another successful milestone on a 5 MW solar project,” Wise said.

“The successful delivery of renewable energy projects highlights MPower’s capability and dependability bringing projects of this size to market, on time and to budget.”

Final commissioning is carried out at Kadina Solar Farm.

Image: MPower

Wise said the successful connection and energisation of the two projects increases to five the number of 5 MWac solar farms MPower has achieved grid connection with, including the Mannum and Pirie solar farms, also in South Australia.

Wise said MPower had deliberately targeted smaller utility-scale projects in part to the relative ease of connecting to the grid and is actively pursuing new engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) opportunities in this niche segment of the renewable energy sector.

MPower is also planning to develop its build, own and operate (BOO) strategy, with Wise telling pv magazine the company is looking to “leverage the expertise it has developed over many years of designing and constructing solar, energy storage and microgrid projects”.

MPower’s strategy involves securing rights over potential renewable energy sites during or at the end of their development phase and acquiring the renewable development assets once the development phase has been completed and the projects have reached ‘ready to build’ status.

“Our shift towards building, owning and operating our own assets brings together our financial and investment capabilities together with our technical and project expertise and enables MPower to extract greater value out of each project opportunity,” Wise said.

The 5 MW Mannum Solar Farm is among MPower’s previous projects.

Image: MPower

MPower is aiming to roll out an initial portfolio of up to 20 renewable energy assets with an aggregate capacity of 100 MWac and an estimated value of more than $150 million once fully constructed.

Wise said the company’s BOO strategy is progressing well with MPower already securing exclusivity over six solar farm development sites across Victoria and South Australia.

“We look forward to progressing these projects through the development phase and, if successfully developed, commencing the design and construct phase in due course,” he said.

“Our aim is to secure renewable energy development sites at scale, each capable of delivering up to 5 MWac and to progressively build, fund and operate the assets.

“We expect to report exclusivity on more sites very soon beyond the first six. Market conditions remain particularly favourable for our sector with demand continuing to grow for renewable energy sources.”

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