Queensland solar farms dominate utility scale solar in May


Genex Power’s 50MW Kidston Solar Farm emerged as Australia’ best performing utility PV asset in May 2022 with international consultancy firm Rystad Energy noting the far north Queensland facility had delivered an average AC capacity factor (CF) of 23.8% for the month.

Rystad Energy senior analyst David Dixon said the Kidston facility, located about 270 kilometres north-west of Townsville in northern Queensland, had spearheaded the state’s dominance of the utility PV generation performance.

“The top six utility PV assets for the month were all located in Queensland which benefits from better solar resource at this time of year relative to the southern states,” he said in a Linkedin post.

The Kidston Solar Farm, which also topped the charts in April, is part of the planned Kidston Clean Energy Hub, which is to include a 250MW/2GWh pumped hydro energy storage facility while up to 270MW of additional solar and up to 150MW of wind generation have also been proposed.

The 100MW Clare Solar Farm, a 50:50 joint venture with Melbourne-based fund manager Lighthouse Infrastructure and German counterpart DIF Capital Partners, was the second-best performing utility PV asset last month with a 21.6% CF. Melbourne-based renewables developer Pacific Hydro Australia’s 100MW Haughton stage 1 solar farm (21.5% CF) rounded out the top three.

Top utility assets for May 2022.

Image: Rystad Energy

While Queensland assets dominated the utility PV market, Dixon said at the state level, New South Wales was the top performer, generating 819GWh of utility-scale solar and wind power for the month, followed by Victoria (747GWh) and South Australia (547GWh).

“May 2022 ends with all Australian utility PV and wind assets generating 2,932GWh, up from 2,678 GWh (+9%) the same time last year,” he said.

Dixon said with the inclusion of rooftop solar, Australia had surpassed the milestone of 30GWac of operational PV in May.

The best performing utility wind assets for the month were the Stockyard Hill 1 wind farm (44.9% CF) in Victoria, followed by Badgingarra (42.6% CF) in Western Australia and the Kiata wind farm (42.5% CF) in Victoria.

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