Large-scale solar’s contribution to Australia’s National Electricity Market has received another boost this week, with the addition of generation from the 56MW Moree Solar farm in northern NSW.
The FRV-developed single-axis tracking PV plant began feeding energy into the Australian grid on Monday morning, alongside other NEM-connected big solar generators, Nyngan (102MW), Broken Hill (53MW) and the 20MW Royalla solar farm.
As you can see in the below snapshot of RenewEconomy’s NEM-Watch widget, output from Moree Solar Farm is now included in the “Large Solar” category for the NSW region, taking the collective output to around 180MW – a number still dwarfed by rooftop solar contribution, represented in the chart as the APVI small solar data.
The bottom graph by WattClarity – who were responsible for the development of the NEM-Watch widget – is taken from AEMO data and excludes the 20MW from Royalla, which – for reasons as yet unexplained – only made a brief appearance in the AEMO data set back in April 2015.
Moree Solar farm started its life as a scaled-down version of a project from the federal government’s ill-fated Solar Flagships program.
And while it was named as the best solar project deal of 2014 for the Asia-Pacific region, it had a shaky start to life; including the 11th-hour withdrawal of Australian project partner Pacific Hydro due to “ongoing political and market uncertainty”, and various attempts by the Abbott government to close down the CEFC, whose funding ultimately got the project over the line.
It is ground-breaking for a couple of reasons: one, for being Australia’s first example of single-axis tracking technology deployed on such a large scale; the second, as the first such project to by-pass the major utilities and be built on a “merchant” basis.
You can get live generation updates on NEM-Watch here.