Trina targets 6.5 GW after landing approval for first Australian solar farm


Trina Solar has reached a significant milestone with the 30 MW Maffra Solar Farm being developed in Victoria’s Gippsland region, confirming it has completed all of the network modelling requirements to receive the green light from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and network operator Ausnet.

“We are delighted to announce that the Australia team of Trina ISBU successfully received the S5.3.4A approval letter for a 37.64 MW(dc) solar project from AusNet and AEMO in Victoria, Australia,” the company announced in a post on LinkedIn.

The Maffra Solar Farm, which Trina acquired from Sydney-based ARP Australian Solar as an early-stage development in 2020, is to be built on a 63-hectare site near Maffra, about 180 kilometres east of Melbourne in the middle of the declared Gippsland renewable energy zone.

With a capacity of 29.9 MW, the project will comprise about 125,000 solar panels and generate enough renewable energy to support approximately 7,200 households.

The Australian team of Trina’s International System Business Unit (Trina ISBU), which is responsible for the development and EPC management of the Maffra project, said construction is expected to commence in the coming months and the project will be fully operational before the end of next year.

“We anticipate financial close by Q2 2023 and to achieve full generation by Q4 2024,” Trina said.

The Maffra Solar Farm will be built on a 63ha site on the outskirts of town.

Image: Trina Solar

The Maffra Solar Farm is the company’s first large-scale project to move to construction in Australia but Trina ISBU expects it will be the first of many, having identified the market as a point of focus for its development strategy in the Asia Pacific region.

Trina said it already has a combined 300 MWp in the pipeline in Australia and aims to reach 1 GW by the end of 2023, expanding that to 6.5 GW by 2027.

While the Maffra Solar Farm is the most advanced project in its portfolio, Trina said it is also pushing ahead with the development of an unidentified solar farm in New South Wales, aiming to achieve ready-to-build status with DA and CA approvals by Q3 2023.

“We have a five-year strategy to develop more than 6.5 GW utility scale projects in Australia, that includes solar, standalone battery energy storage systems and hybrid projects,” the company told pv magazine. “This has been mandated since Q3 2022.”

Trina said it is flexible with its development strategy and would look at a combination of co-development, M&A and greenfield developments to achieve its targets. It also said it will look beyond solar and storage and potentially include off-grid and green hydrogen in its Australia-wide portfolio of renewable projects.

Trina ISBU said it is active in more than 15 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Spain and Germany, and has connected more than 5.5 GW of solar projects to the grid worldwide.

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