Australia invests AUD 69 million in a 25 MW Community Solar Farm in Queensland

The historic sheep and cattle grazing Queensland town of Barcaldine will be home to a new big solar farm, creating jobs in the region and boosting large scale solar in Australia. The $69 million Barcaldine Remote Community Solar Farm (BRCSF) project is due for completion in April 2017.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing $22.8 million support towards the construction of Barcaldine Regional Community Solar Farm, a 20 MW AC (25 MW DC) single axis tracking solar plant, and  the Clean Energy Finance Corporation has committed $20 million in debt finance towards the project.

ARENA’s objectives are to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and to increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the project would benefit the region and demonstrate how renewables can provide network benefits in locations at the edges of the national electricity network.

Mr Frischknecht said:

“Fringe-of-grid locations in regional Australia face a number of challenges with reliability and outages caused by network constraints and a lack of infrastructure. A new solar farm will help alleviate peak demand pressures and provide voltage control, resulting in more reliable power supply to customers in the region.”

He added:

“The potential for added battery storage to create additional network benefits will also be explored. This could allow the solar plant to work in tandem with the existing gas plant during a line outage, operating as an ‘island’ network independent to the main grid. This project will serve as a test case showing how the network benefits from distributed renewable energy can improve network efficiency, and potentially enable solar plants to access an extra revenue stream through network support payments.”

The Barcaldine Remote Community Solar Farm

The Barcaldine solar PV plant will be built on a 90 hectare site by Elecnor, one of Spain’s leading companies in the renewable energy sector.

BRCSF will feature around 79,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) modules with 20 MW AC (25 MW DC) capacity and single axis tracking, which, according to Elecnor, will generate an estimated annual output of 56,000 MWh, sufficient to satisfy the consumption requirements of 5,300 households.

ARENA reports that this project will be the first large scale PV plant connecting into Ergon Energy’s network system and provide substantial network benefits.

Source: News Releases by ARENA and Elecnor. Image Credit: Ben Ashmole via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).