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Lyon firms up 1GW solar + storage plans with new equity deal

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An Australian company’s plans to build a “minimum” 100MW of solar PV paired with 100MWh of battery storage in South Australia are firming up, after securing finance from US investment group Magnetar Capital.

Lyon Solar said on Monday that the Illinois-based Magnetar had made an investment in the company to support its development of large-scale solar PV projects in Australia, a development pipeline that includes plans for more than 1GW of grid-connected PV and 500MWh of battery storage by 2020.

A particular recent focus of Lyon Solar, however, has been its planned 2017 development of a PV and battery storage facility near Roxby Downs, a project the company said on the weekend could meet the sort of grid supply shortfall that led to blackouts in the state earlier this month.

lyon solar storage

The company’s ambitious battery storage plans were firmed up in September of 2016, with the announcement of a partnership with Mitsubishi Corporation.

Under the partnership, Lyon and Mitsubishi will deploy AES Energy Storage’s Advancion battery arrays, although there is little further detail on how exactly this will be done.

In a statement at the time of the Mitsubishi deal, Lyon Group partner David Green said the company would “add enough clean and reliable generation capacity to the energy market to safely allow for the decommissioning of some of Australia’s oldest, most polluting coal-fired power stations.”

In comments to The Australian Financial Review on Sunday, Green said the new equity deal with Magnetar made him ”very confident” the installation of two 50MWh battery storage facilities in SA would go ahead this year.

According to the AFR, Green said adding storage to the large-scale solar plants Lyon Group had planned for South Australia would have “easily been enough” to avert the February 8 load-shedding that cut power to 90,000 homes in in the state.

And the company says that Magnetar – which specialises in investment in energy infrastructure – has further plans to invest Lyon Solar’s development pipeline, which includes the 144MW Kingfisher project (SA) and the 96MW Lakeland project in far north Queensland.

“Magnetar’s investment helps to position Lyon Solar to seize the opportunity presented by federal commitments to decarbonise Australia’s energy sector and the continued decline of solar PV costs. We are very excited by what the future holds,” Green said in a statement on Monday.

So far, the Lyon team has developed over 350MW of renewable energy projects in Australia, Japan and South East Asia.

For Magnetar Capital, the deal marks its first foray into the Australian market, adding to its previous investments in 32 solar projects in the UK, representing 344MW.  

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  • trackdaze

    More good news in storage.

  • brucelee

    Why is red flow not dominating the large scale storage market in Australia? Their technology is supposed to suit to long term investment decisions (cycle depth, cycles, operating temperatures, losses) yet we hear nothing?

    • rms

      Too expensive. RedFlow simply doesn’t command the economies of scale that other battery chemistries enjoy, like Li-ion. It’s not complicated

  • Tom

    100MWh sounds like a lot, but I believe that home-scale batteries will achieve far more than this in the not-too-distant future.

    Consider this – there are approximately 500,000 homes in SA. If 10,000 homes each had 10kWh of battery storage that they were willing to remotely sell to the grid in times of peak pricing (and get paid accordingly), then this is 100MWh.

    However, let’s take this a few years further into the future. Let’s consider that 100,000 homes in SA had electric cars, and that they all had a Tesla PowerPack 2 (approx. 200kWh) to recharge their cars, and that they also had remotely controlled inverters to allow them to sell back to the grid at times of high pricing. This is 20,000MWh – enough to power SA for almost 24 hours (depending on the weather and time of year).

    I know the Tesla PowerPack 2 is approx. $140,000, but soon someone else will produce something similar for $100,000, and then for $75,000, and then for $55,000. Given that people probably spend $3000 per year on petrol and similar on electricity (I spend $5000/year on electricity in my Tasmanian energy-inefficient house), it won’t take long before this could be a reality.

    I firmly believe that allowing home battery owners to participate as generators – bidding, buying, and selling energy on the national market on a level playing field with the large generators – is a large part of the future solution. In addition, it would shift the capital investment and also the risk to individuals rather than governments.

  • Large scale solar and storage is alright, but I think solar and storage at or closer to the point of end use is better. Local electricity trading with blockchain microgrids can help to achieve this. Have a look at this petition:
    https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/The_AEMC_Reconsider_the_change_request_for_local_electricity_trading/edit/