A 128MW solar farm set for construction in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region has confirmed it will sell its PV generated electricity into the local grid on a merchant basis, after signing an agreement with WA network operator Western Power.
Sun Brilliance Power – the company behind the solar farm, which will be the state’s biggest once completed – said on Friday that it had signed two contracts with Western Power, one allowing it to connect to the grid, and one allowing it send solar power into the network.
The Cunderdin Solar Farm, which is sited on the outskirts of a WA town of the same name, will be built in two phases: the first a single-axis tracking array with a capacity of 85MW; the second, a further 43MW to make 128MW in total.
The contracts with Western Power come almost one full year after the project was approved for development by the Mid-West Wheatbelt Joint Development Assessment Panel, and ahead of the plant’s construction, which is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2018.
This puts the $150 million project on track to be one of Australia’s biggest “merchant” utility-scale solar farms to be completed, and selling power to the grid.
Sun Brilliance has also floated plans to evolve the massive solar power station into a “beautiful complex” that will attract visits from tourists, schools, educators and businesses.
The planned visitor precinct, which the company has said is accounted for in the project’s budget, was to feature landscaped grounds, a function area, a retail outlet, an educational “discovery facility”, cleantech demonstrations, and a café/tea house.
In a statement on Friday, Sun Brilliance said it wanted to acknowledge “the hard work and support of Western Power” in getting the project to this important point – “a milestone for Sun Brilliance on its ambitious journey to become one of Australia’s leading energy developers.”
The company’s Director, and long time renewable energy and sustainability advocate, Professor Ray Wills, is also on the board of Horizon Power, WA’s government-owned regional energy network.