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Wirsol secures approval for hybrid solar-storage power plant

https://www.pv-magazine-australia.com/2022/08/04/wirsol-secures-approval-for-hybrid-solar-storage-power-plant/

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Wirsol, a subsidiary of Germany-based renewable energy group Wircon, said the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) has given a tick of approval to the Maryvale Solar and Energy Storage project which will see a 175 MW solar farm coupled with up to 270 MWh of energy storage.

The Maryvale Solar and Energy Storage project, being developed on a 360-hectare site near Wellington about 37 kilometres southeast of Dubbo, builds upon the original proposal for a 125 MW solar farm. The expanded project will comprise approximately 235 MWp of solar PV capacity “DC-coupled” with 190-270 MWh of energy storage.

Wirsol, which late last year acquired a majority stake in the original project from Netherlands-based renewables developer Photon Energy, said the approval brings it a step closer to building what it described as “a market-first hybrid solar and energy storage plant”.

The company said the DC-coupling of solar generation and energy storage involves connecting both elements directly into the inverters at the site, allowing it to function as a predictable and dispatchable generation asset.

“This means that solar or grid energy can be efficiently stored for later use when the market requires it,” Wirsol said in a statement. “It also allows what is known as ‘clipped’ energy to be stored, thereby increasing the effective production of the photovoltaic components compared to a traditional solar plant.”

The project is located in the planned Central-West Orana REZ.

Image: Supplied

The company said the flexibility afforded by combining renewable energy generation and storage is far better suited to meeting the needs of Australia’s electricity market.

“The pairing means that the plant’s output into the grid is fully controllable, ensuring stability of supply whilst allowing it to bid into markets previously unavailable to variable renewable energy plants,” Wirsol said.

Construction of the project is expected to begin in 2023 with commercial operations to commence in early 2025. Once completed, the project will generate enough clean energy to power the equivalent of approximately 82,000 homes each year.

The project, located in the state’s Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone which will deliver at least 3 GW of renewable energy into the grid, is the latest for Wirsol which has established a strong presence in the Australian market since its entry in 2017.

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