Photon offloads solar farm to focus on ‘solar-hydro’ technology in Australia


The Australian arm of the Amsterdam-headquartered Photon Energy has sold its 65% stake in the $188 million Maryvale Solar Farm in New South Wales (NSW), announcing the move will allow it to fully focus its future development activities on utility-scale projects based on the RayGen Resources technology which merges solar PV power generation with long-duration electro-thermal energy storage.

Photon announced this week it has sold its share in the 160 MWdc (125 MWac) Maryvale Solar Farm being developed near Wellington in central western New South Wales to the German-owned renewable energy developer Wirsol.

The agreement entails an initial payment of €500,000 ($A788,000) and also calls for Wirsol to pay Photon another two ‘milestone-related’ payments, due upon successful completion and commissioning of the project. Construction of the project is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2022.

Michael Gartner, Photon Energy chief technical officer and managing director of its Australian operations, said the transaction will allow the company to further explore Melbourne-based RayGen’s solar co-generation and electro-thermal energy storage technology and build out its Australian portfolio.

“Having Wirsol as a partner in Maryvale confirms the quality of our assets and will allow us to accelerate our growth in renewables within the framework of an efficient and sustainable energy transition and with the goal of adding over 500 MWp of PV generation capacity before the end of 2024,” he said.

Photon plans to build a large-scale facility in South Austraia using the Raygen technology.

Image: Raygen

The transaction comes just six weeks after Photon revealed plans to build a large-scale renewable energy facility in South Australia utilising RayGen’s technology which combines concentrated solar PV technology with electro-thermal storage comprising water-based pit thermal energy storage, Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) turbines and industrial chillers.

The proposed SA project would have a total solar generation capacity of 300 MW with a grid connection capacity of 150 MW. The target energy storage capacity is 3.6 GWh, equivalent to 24 hours of full load, to the grid, from storage.

Photon, which entered a strategic partnership with RayGen in 2020 and earlier this year made a $3 million equity investment in in the company, said it has already secured 1,200 hectares of land for the project but has not yet revealed the specific location.

RayGen technology tackles head on the problem of intermittency of solar energy as it combines high efficiency concentrated PV generation with thermal absorption and storage, providing for the highest energy density of any solar technology available today,” Gartner said at the time of the capital increase.

Wirsol’s Australian solar portfolio includes the 149 MWp Glenrowan West Solar Farm.

Image: Wirsol

For Wirsol, a subsidiary of German-based renewable energy group Wircon, the acquisition of the Maryvale Solar Farm adds another utility-scale solar project to its Australian portfolio.

The developer’s other Australian projects include the 110 MWp Wemen Solar Farm in north-western Victoria and the 60 MWp Whitsunday and the 90 MWp Clermont solar farm in  Queensland. In October, Wirsol announced it had acquired the land rights to develop the 75-85 MWp Barnawartha Solar Farm near Wodonga in Victoria.

It was project manager of 149 MWp Glenrowan West Solar Farm during its construction and commissioning phase, and now operates the Victorian facility on behalf of German owners Wirtgen Invest. Wirsol also co-owns, with Edify Energy, the 25 MW/50 MWh Gannawarra Energy Storage System, which sits alongside the 60 MW Gannawarra Solar Farm in Victoria.

The Maryvale Solar Farm, being developed near Wellington, about 50 kilometres southeast of Dubbo, will comprise an estimated 450,000 PV modules installed on a single axis tracking system alongside 40 inverter stations.

Located in the NSW Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), which is anticipated will unlock up to 3 GW of new generation by the mid-2020s, the solar farm will connect to the grid via an existing Essential Energy 132 kV transmission line.

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: