German energy company innogy has begun construction on the 349MWp solar power plant at Limondale near Balranald in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW).
Preparation works and pre-pilling tests are currently underway on Australia’s largest solar project, and construction is expected to commence in October 2018.
The company completed the acquisition of the project in September 2018.
The Limondale plant will be commissioned in phases, with full commercial operation expected in mid-2020.
innogy renewables COO 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.”
BELECTRIC, a subsidiary of innogy, is the EPC contractor and operation and maintenance (O&M) service provider for the solar farm.
BELECTRIC has so far executed solar projects totalling 2GW globally, including projects in Australia. The company is also one of the major O&M providers in the solar power sector.
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 early 2018, innogy signed a contract to take over the project rights for the New South Wales development project, Hillston, with a planned capacity of 115MWp and the transfer is expected to take place by the end of 2018.
Both solar projects have been developed by Overland Sun Farming of Australia.
Investment in Limondale and Hillston projects will be more than €400m (over AUD650 m). innogy will review future ownership and financing structure of the projects to maximise value for the company and shareholders.
Image: The site of Australia’s largest solar power plant being constructed by innogy at Limondale. Photo: Courtesy of innogy.