The title of Australia’s largest solar farm under construction will switch from Queensland to South Australia this week when Reach Solar issues a notice to proceed with the second stage of its Bungala solar farm near Port Augusta.
The company began construction and the grid connection of its first 110MW stage back in April, after reaching financial close and a obtaining a power purchase agreement from Origin Energy.
This week, the second stage – also 110MW – will effectively begin construction, putting it ahead of a handful of 100MW projects in Queensland (such as Sun Metals’ 116MW solar project and the 140MW Clare solar project, and making it the largest solar farm actually under construction in Australia.
The solar farm is being built just 12kms east of Port Augusta, where the last coal fired generator was shut down early last year, and could be added to if the company wins a government tender for “dispatchable” generation that could add another 80MW of solar and battery storage.
Another major project, the 212MW Lincoln Gap wind farm, has also signed a major contract and will be built near Port Augusta, while numerous other projects in the area are also on the planning table.
Reach Energy earlier this year agreed to sell the solar farm to two of Europe’s biggest investors in renewables, Italy’s Enel Green Energy and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund.
Reach Energy is headed by Tony Concannon, the former head of the owners of the Hazelwood brown coal generator in Victoria which closed late last month, and who has said that the cost of solar and storage has already fallen below peaking gas generation and will soon be under $100/MWh.
“Other developers have talked a lot about their projects, but we have actually done something. When the notice to proceed is issue, we will then have the largest solar PV in project under construction in Australia,” Concannon told RenewEconomy. And the only large scale solar farm under construction in South Australia.