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Australia’s oldest solar farm shines bright as new asset nears completion

https://www.pv-magazine-australia.com/2022/03/14/australias-oldest-solar-farm-shines-bright-as-new-asset-nears-completion/

 

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Sydney-based solar contractor Tranex took to social media at the weekend to announce that the last of approximately 300,000 solar PV panels has been installed at the 120MWdc Hillston Solar Farm in the Riverina region of south-western New South Wales (NSW) and energisation of the project has commenced.

“And that’s a wrap,” the company said in a social media post. “Another successful project completed. The final solar panel has been installed at the 120MW Hillston Solar Farm by the Tranex Solar team, and energisation on this project is well underway.”

Developed by the Australian arm of Canadian clean energy investment firm Amp Energy, the Hillston Solar Farm is expected to generate approximately 235,000GWh of clean energy per year, the equivalent annual power consumption of approximately 48,000 households, when it begins full production.

The project will connect to the National Electricity Market (NEM) via Essential Energy’s Hillston sub-station which is adjacent to the 393-hectare project site just south of Hillston.

The Hillston project continues Amp’s growth in Australia after it achieved commercial operations last year with the 39MWdc Molong Solar Farm.

The Canada-based renewable energy infrastructure manager, developer, and owner has also revealed plans to build a flagship 1.3GW Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia. The $2 billion hub is to include large-scale solar projects at Robertstown, Bungama and Yoorndoo Ilga totalling up to 1.36GWdc of generation supported by a total battery energy storage capacity of 540MW.

The energisation of the Hillston Solar Farm comes after new data compiled by international consultancy firm Rystad Energy showed the 40MW Greenough River Solar Farm in Western Australia (WA) was the best performing solar asset in the country in February.

Rystad Energy senior analyst David Dixon said Bright Energy Investments’ Greenough River Solar Farm near Geraldton in the state’s mid-west was Australia’s best performing utility solar PV project last month, with a capacity factor of 37.6%.

Built in 2012, the original 10MW Greenough River in Western Australia was the first large-scale solar farm in the country. The asset’s generation capacity has since been boosted with a 30MW expansion recently completed.

SUN Energy’s 100MW Merredin Solar Farm, which was the nation’s top performing utility scale solar PV asset in 2021, finished second for the month with the power plant in WA’s central Wheatbelt returning an average capacity factor (CF) of 37.6%.

German investment company Wirtgen Invest’s 149MWp Glenrowan West Solar Farm in northern Victoria rounded out the top three solar farms for the month of February with an average capacity factor of 37.4%.

Dixon said utility scale solar PV and wind assets generated a combined total of 3,347GWh last month, up 24% on the 2,700GWh generated in February 2021.

NSW was the top performing state for the month, generating 967GWh of utility PV and wind generation, followed by Victoria (842GWh) and South Australia (580GWh).

The top utility wind asset was Powering Australian Renewable’s 200MW Silverton wind farm in NSW (51.9% CF), ahead of DIF’s Warradarge Wind Farm (50.4% CF) in WA.

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