RES Group’s long wait for state approval from the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment ended earlier this month when it got the green light to build the 200 MW Avonlie Solar Farm.
The approval process took more than a year to wrap up. Construction will begin in the coming months, with operations expected to start in the fall of 2021.
The company said that the project will feature approximately 667,000 solar panels. Additionally, the 550-hectare site will feature an energy storage component, although RES has yet to reveal any specifics. The project could potentially generate enough electricity for 80,000 homes per year, it said.
Large-scale solar farms have been dogged in recent years by issues related to grid connectivity. However, the Avonlie project’s proximity to existing grid infrastructure should ensure it is not plagued by such concerns. The project site – 20 km south of the town of Narrandera, in the state’s Riverina region – is ideal for large-scale solar development in large part because of its proximity to the grid.
Earlier this month, Matthew Kean – the energy and environment minister for New South Wales – kicked off Clean Energy Summit 2019 with a promise to unleash private investment in the state’s transmission infrastructure. Kean acknowledged that the state’s archaic grid network is holding back the integration of renewables.
By Blake Matich