120 MW agrivoltaic project set to begin construction in Australia


From pv magazine Australia

Spanish-Japanese renewable energy company Univergy has announced that it will begin construction of a 120 MW agrivoltaic project with Australian partner New Energy Development (NED) in New South Wales (NSW) this year.

Located on the NSW and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) border, the Wallaroo Solar Farm will likely commence construction in summer with the installation of 260,936 panels at 460 Wp each, an onsite substation and a battery storage system. The panels will be positioned on single axis tracking structures and will generate around 260,000 MWh of solar energy annually.

Key to the $170m project is its agrivoltaic symbiosis. The 163 hectare property currently operates as a sheep farm and will continue to do so once the solar array is erected. The symbiotic relationship between solar panels and vegetation means that the sheep will have more to chew on than ever before. With the panels situated at a maximum elevation of 2.3m and with 5m between each row there will be more than enough space for the sheep to graze.

Moreover, the site is to feature approximately 22,000 permanent native plants, including six species to provide ground cover and 19 species to provide a vegetation screen which will also double as a bee haven. Native species like the Fan Flower, Grevillea, Goodenia, Jug Flower and Native Daisy all great attractors of bees, birds, butterflies and other species. The plants themselves also ensure the site will require a minimum of maintenance thanks to the better drainage from deep native rooted plants.

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Univergy Solar’s executive president ,Ignacio Blanco, said, “Australia is a market with enormous potential for the development of clean energy, which makes it a strategic country for Univergy. The development of this first 120 MW park together with our partner New Energy Development, has improved our know-how in this market and we are confident of being able to expand our presence in the country through the development of future projects.”

In a statement to local residents, NED provided an update on what they described as a 100 MW development capable of producing clean renewable energy for approximately 48,000 NSW and ACT homes annually for the next three decades. NED also informed locals that they would be able to purchase said green energy at a discounted rate through the Localvolts Electricity Exchange, a peer-to-peer platform for the buying and selling of energy.

At this stage NED is currently preparing the project’s environment impact statement (EIS) and is seeking NSW State Significant Development status.

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