Spanish-based renewable energy development company Elecnor says it has won approval for the second stage of its Barcaldine solar farm, adding 50MW (DC) and possibly storage to what is currently Queensland’s first and biggest large scale solar farm.
The development approval for stage II of the Barcaldine Solar Farm means that construction will likely begin in early 2018, once an interconnection agreement has also been signed.
The first stage of the Barcaldine regional solar farm – a 25MW (DC) (20MW AC) project was connected last December, and like the first stage the second instalment will also include single axis tracking.
Like the first stage, Elecnor is likely to sell electricity to the grid on a “merchant” basis, meaning that it will sell its output, and the renewable energy certificates that go with it, on the open market, rather than sign a fixed price contract.
Business development manager Manuel Lopez-Velez says storage is also a consideration, both as a means to “time shift” and arbitrage the output of solar, and sell into the evening peaks, but also to add grid security services.
The location of the Barcaldine solar farm means that adding battery storage could create a localised mini -grid, ensuring power in the case of blackouts elsewhere, much like the battery storage installation proposes for the Wattle Point wind farm in South Australia.
Lopez says other innovative storage solutions will also be looked at. The company sold 80 per cent of the first stage of the Barcaldine solar farm to the K-based Foresight group, but retains all of the interests in the second stage.