In February Array was the the first solar tracker supplier to be awarded a contract under the Victorian Government’s Victorian Renewable Energy Tender (VRET2) scheme, which involved local manufacturing requirements as part of the agreement.
Speaking to pv magazine Australia at Melbourne’s All-Energy conference last week, Array’s Director of Asia-Pacific, Michael Corio, said the Glenrowan project has been delivered ahead of schedule and has proven the US-based company can establish itself in the Australian market.
“It has been a big step for us to set up such extensive manufacturing in a new country,” he said.
“As a business, we decided to push ahead and make the investment to set up manufacturing here, and it’s never easy when you do that in a new country.
“It took a significant amount of time – at least eight to 12 months – for us to engage manufacturing partners and steel producers who were able and willing to partner with us to deliver our quality processes.
“It’s been a very exciting milestone for us and certainly one we want to replicate.”
Array’s Chief Revenue Officer, Travis Rose, said the Victorian Government’s local content requirements presented a significant challenge in being able to service the Glenrowan site.
“There were two things we were concerned about,” he said.
“We have a reputation as having a quality and reliable product, and you’re only as good as the components that go into your product. We took a lot of time to make sure that these had to be local suppliers, but also that they could meet our stringent quality criteria.
“The second important thing for us was looking at overall capacity and the ability to deliver on time.
“With the schedule actually coming in sooner than we expected, plus these new suppliers and manufacturing operations both meeting and exceeding our quality criteria, we met or exceeded both of those goals from a quality standpoint as well as the capacity and a timing standpoint.”
Mr Corio said that Array is “engaged and involved” in discussions about other projects in the VRET2 program, and is looking further afield to renewable projects in other states.
“With the kind of investment that the states are making, it’s kind of an energy revolution,” he said.
“We want to see more benefits in terms of Australian job creation, and developing an industry that can actually manufacture and capture some of that value for this massive energy transition that is underway.
“We think that this is just the beginning, and we’re proud to be the first company to actually set up and show that we’re here to stay.”
The 102 MW Glenrowan project was one of six announced last year by the Victorian Government under its VRET2 auction.
The scheme is designed to fast-track 623 MW of renewable energy generation as part of the government’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable consumption for its operations by 2025.
The Glenrowan solar farm is located in Victoria’s Central North Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), and is owned by infrastructure developer Pacific Partnerships. It is expected to be operational in late 2023.
The Victorian Government expects that the Glenrowan project to create 150 full-time jobs and generate enough renewable energy to power 45,000 homes.
Return of the SEC
The Glenrowan site was visited last week by Victoria’s Minister for the State Electricity Commission, Lily D’Ambrosio, as part of an announcement to reinstate the State Electricity Commission (SEC).
D’Ambrosio confirmed that the Glenrowan solar farm will become part of the SEC, and will sell power to the Victorian Government as its first customer.
“Our next big build is the renewable energy transition – and the SEC will help attract and train the renewable energy workforce Victoria needs,” D’Ambrosio said.
“The SEC will help create 59,000 jobs and will help deliver an unprecedented workforce of highly skilled renewable energy professionals.”
Under its 10-year strategic plan, the SEC will invest $1 billion (USD 630 million) towards building 4.5 GW of renewable energy projects.
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