Australian infrastructure and facilities company Downer has won a contract from BELECTRIC Solar and Battery (BELECTRIC) to build innogy’s 349MW Limondale Solar Farm located near Balranald in New South Wales (NSW), which is expected to be the largest solar farm in Australia.
Preparation works and pre-pilling tests have already begun and construction works are expected to commence in October 2018.
The plant will be commissioned in phases and full commercial operation is expected in mid-2020.
innogy COO renewables Hans Bünting said: “It makes me proud that we can now start with the construction of our first utility-scale PV plant in Australia – one of the continents with the highest solar irradiation per square meter.
“To expand renewable energies it is of vital importance that beside the excellent yield the country is supportive for increasing the share of renewable energies.”
innogy subsidiary BELECTRIC has been appointed as the EPC contractor for the solar farm, as well as the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) service provider.
BELECTRIC has executed projects worth nearly 2GW globally, including projects in Australia.
innogy Renewables Australia CEO Thorsten Blanke said: “Electricity prices in Australia have risen strongly over the past decade and are among the highest in the world.
“An expansion of renewable energies can contribute towards reducing the energy costs for customers. Especially wind and solar are cost-effective alternatives in a country with excellent natural renewable resources.”
In addition, innogy has also signed a contract to take over the project rights for the NSW development project Hillston in early 2018, which has a planned capacity of 115MWp.
The transfer of the project company to innogy is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
Both solar projects have been developed by Overland Sun Farming.
The investment in Limondale and Hillston projects is expected to be more than €400m.
Downer’s utilities business executive director Trevor Cohen said: “We are pleased to be working with BELECTRIC on the Limondale Solar Farm, which will deliver significant economic and environmental benefits for the local community.
“Once the Limondale Solar Farm is built, Downer will have constructed close to three gigawatts of renewable energy projects – making Downer a leader in the industry.”
Image: Downer wins contract to build Australia’s largest solar farm. Photo: Courtesy of Downer Group.