Australia’s first utility-scale solar farm marks 10th anniversary


From pv magazine Australia

The first grid-scale solar plant in Australia, the Greenough River Solar Farm near Geraldton, Western Australia, has now notched a decade of operations, as it was officially opened in October 2012.

The original 10 MW Greenough River Solar Farm was the nation’s first large-scale solar PV power project when it was commissioned, but it has since been dwarfed by the increasingly large utility-scale solar projects appearing on Australia’s landscape. In the decade since the Greenough River Solar Farm went online, more than 100 large-scale solar projects totaling almost 7 GW of generation capacity have been connected to the grid.

In the past year alone, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has registered 29 new generation and storage projects totaling 4 GW of capacity, including what is now Australia’s largest solar farm, a 400 MW power plant being developed in Queensland by the Australian arm of French renewables developer Neoen.

The 400 MW project, which is now exporting to the grid, forms part of Neoen’s AUD 600 million ($375.3 million) Western Downs Green Power Hub.

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The Greenough River Solar Farm was developed by Western Australian state-owned energy generator and retailer Synergy and GE Energy Financial Services. It was later acquired in 2018 by Bright Energy Investments (BEI), a joint venture between Synergy, the Dutch Infrastructure Fund, and Construction Building Union Superannuation.

The original 10 MW first stage of the solar farm comprises 150,000 Series 3 thin-film 85 W PV panels supplied by US module producer First Solar. The panels were mounted on fixed racking.

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