Asian developer to build 100-megawatt solar farm in South Australia

An artist's impression of the solar farm being built in South Australia.

An artist's impression of the solar farm being built in South Australia.

Asia’s largest independent renewable energy developer will build a battery ready 100-megawatt solar farm in South Australia this year.

Singapore-based Equis has partnered with Snowy Hydro on the project, which will be the biggest solar array in South Australia.

The AU$200 million project near the town of Tailem Bend will include 400,000 solar panels spread across 200 hectares.

Equis CEO David Russell said the project was an opportunity to leverage the company’s development and construction expertise to deliver large scale, reliable renewable energy for Australian consumers.

“As Asia’s largest renewable energy developer and investor, the Tailem Bend solar project represents an exciting expansion into Australia for Equis,” he said.

“We are delighted to partner Snowy Hydro on the Tailem Bend solar project to build one of Australia’s lowest cost solar generation projects with a unique ‘battery-storage ready’ design, further enhancing the project’s long term attractiveness as a stable, low cost source of power.”

Tailem Bend is on Australia’s longest river, The Murray, about 90km east of the South Australian capital Adelaide.

South Australia leads the nation in the uptake of wind energy and roof-top solar with renewable sources accounting for more than 40 per cent of the electricity generated in the state. The South Australian Government aims to extend this to 50 per cent by 2025.

However, the closure of two coal-fired power stations in recent years has increased South Australia’s reliance on energy supplies from the eastern Australian states, particularly in times of peak demand.

Snowy Hydro currently owns and operates 5500 megawatts of generation capacity across Australia, including the iconic 4100 megawatt Snowy Hydro-electric Scheme in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales.

The Tailem Bend project will mean Snowy Hydro has access to 264 megawatts of generation capacity in South Australia, which includes 136 megawatts of thermal capacity at Port Stanvac and Angaston. It will add a further 28 megawatts of diesel generation at the Tailem Bend site from 2017.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Snowy Hydro to source renewable generation in South Australia to complement our existing capacity,” Snowy Hydro CEO and Managing Director Paul Broad said.

“The solar farm represents a significant, strategic investment in South Australia by Snowy Hydro and demonstrates our commitment to growing both our generation business and our Lumo Energy business, which services around 50,000 electricity customers in the state.

“Importantly, this unique generation facility at Tailem Bend is also ‘battery ready’ with the ability to install up to 100 megawatts of large-scale battery storage on the site.”