Sun Brilliance plans upsized 100 MW solar farm in Western Australia

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Western Australia (WA) is set to welcome a new, 100 MW solar PV plant near Cunderdin, east of Perth, after local solar power systems integrator Sun Brilliance was able to secure 165 hectares of land for the project.

The developer had announced earlier this year that it was to begin work on a 25 MW solar plant in WA having acquired land sufficiently large enough to handle such a project. However, the company has since been able to upsize these plans and attract "encouraging signals from investors" to confidently press forward with a larger project.

Once completed, the 100 MW solar farm will be the largest in WA, surpassing the 10.6 MW installation at the DeGrussa mine. Sun Brilliance also states that because the plant will be built using single-axis trackers, it will produce 20% more solar electricity than Australia’s largest PV plant – the 102 MW Nyngan solar farm.

Applications have already been made for connection to Western Power’s grid via a 132 kV transmission line, which lies just 2km south of the proposed plot. Sun Brilliance will also build its own 120 kVA, 132 kV/22kV substation on site – which is a 165 hectare patch of land 158 km east of Perth.

Once connected, the solar energy produced will be sold in Australia’s wholesale energy market through a power purchase agreement (PPA), the developer said, while peak production will see the creation of 200,000 Large Generation Certificates (LGCs) annually.

"Given our solar farm will make a significant addition to WA’s renewable energy generation, we look forward to helping the State meet obligations under the Federal Government’s renewable energy target, and provide a source of WA-produced LGCs," said Sun Brilliance director, Ray Wills.

Investment in the plant is at an advanced stage, with project partners thrashing out final negotiations with “several investors” for 30% equity investment. Several lenders are also in talks regarding the remaining 70%.

Financial closure is expected by December, with Sun Brilliance hoping to have all regulatory approvals signed off by January, which is when construction is scheduled to begin. The developer is targeting a July 2017 operational date.

"Rooftop solar has dominated the Western Australian market in the past 5 years, while the rest of the world has largely built utility scale solar farms – our competitively-priced 100 MW solar farm will change the way electricity generation in Western Australian is viewed," added Wills.