Large-scale solar farms coming online

Renewable generation in the National Energy Market (NEM) has reached a new record high, according to the latest figures from the National Energy Emissions Audit.

Eight new large-scale solar farms have come online in the eastern states since September, driving the Snowy Hydro system during the day to store energy for overnight release. One of these farms is Australia’s largest, found in Coleambally, NSW. With an installed capacity of 189MWp, the 550ha solar farm comprises 567,800 PV panels and produces energy for 65,000 homes. Site preparation began in January, with all works completed between March and September.

Coleambally is due to be pipped soon, though, with construction of Sunshine Energy’s 2055ha site due to commence in late 2019. Due to be the world’s largest single-site solar farm, with a world-topping 500MW lithium battery, the build is funded by China Power and will be located in southeast Queensland’s Somerset Council. It will use 5,191,200 PV panels in 21,000 subarrays, and will provide 1500MW—enough to power over 300,000 homes. The first 250MW should come online by the end of 2019, with construction expected to take two to three years.

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