Construction of the 112MW Karadoc solar farm in Victoria’s north-west will get underway this month, after the contract to design, build and commission the project was awarded.
Project developer, German-owned BayWa r.e. said on Monday it had signed up local outfit Beon Energy Solutions for the job in Mildura, which could deliver – albeit very briefly – the state’s largest solar farm to date.
The two companies have teamed up on solar projects before, including BayWa r.e.’s first solar energy project in Australia, the 20MW Hughenden Solar Park in north-west Queensland.
BayWa sold Hughenden to Australian infrastructure fund Lighthouse Solar in July last year.
For the Karadoc project, Beon has kicked off proceedings this week with a public forum to provide information to job seekers, with construction expected to create up to 300 jobs for the region during the construction phase.
The two company’s said the regional investment, and subsequent benefits to small and medium businesses, will provide a significant boost to the economy of Victoria’s north-west.
“BayWa’s commitment to the Karadoc solar farm demonstrates that utility-scale solar farms have a big future in the Mildura region, which will lead to significant short-term and ongoing regional development opportunities while helping to achieve Australia’s renewable energy target,” said Beon managing director Glen Thomson in comments on Monday.
The region is considered to be Victoria’s top solar location, due to a combination of the state’s highest solar exposure and highest average sunshine hours.
“The Mildura City Council, and neighbouring communities, are about to see the full benefit of this investment in a region that has long been touted as a high quality solar electricity generation project area,” Thomson said.
“Their persistence and commitment to attracting large-scale renewable projects to the region is paying off.”
BayWa Solar managing director Daniel Gäfke has previously described Australian is an exciting market for solar, given its high levels of sunlight.
“We are currently investing in a further three large projects in Northern Victoria and Queensland,” Gäfke said in July 2017.
“These projects, once operational, will have a combined output of just under 280MW. All three are set to be generating electricity before the end of 2018 and are just the first steps in our expansion into Australia”.
Elsewhere in Victoria, fellow German renewables outfit Wirsol Energy is in the process of developing the 110MW Wemen Sun Farm in nearby central Victoria.
The CEFC-backed Bannerton Solar Farm, at 88MW, is also underway – it was due for completion by July – having won a contract to help power the state’s tram network.
And just south of Mildura, will be the Kiamal Solar Farm – Total Eren’s potentially 350MW solar farm, which has also won approval to add a 100MW/380MWh battery storage facility.
Currently, Total Eren has committed to build 200MW as the first stage of the Kiamal project – which will be the state’s biggest solar farm once it’s built.