Singapore-based Equis Energy says it has achieved financial close on its 127MW Tailem Bend solar project in South Australia, and intends to begin construction later this month, with completion expected in 12 months.
The project was first announced last February, when Equis said it had signed a 22-year power purchase agreement for all the output with Snowy Hydro. But it has only now reached financial close.
Equis now says it also plans to develop Tailem Bend 2, an additional 111MW solar project adjacent to the first stage of the solar farm to be built some 100kms south east of Adelaide.
It says Tailem Bend will already be one of the lowest cost solar farms in Australia and the second stage will bring prices down further because of the shared infrastructure.
Its initial announcement included plans by Snowy Hydro to build a 28.8MW diesel generator to support the solar farm, but the new announcement makes no mention of that. (A recent AFR story says the plans were thwarted by “technical demands” from the Australian Energy Market Operator).
Instead, Equis says it has reserved land at the site to accommodate a future battery installation with storage of up to 100MWh.
“Australia represents one of the most exciting solar power generation markets globally and Equis expects to build over $1 billion of new projects over the next 24-36 months,” director David Russell said in a statement.
“As Asia’s largest renewable energy developer, Equis is able to leverage its economies of scale to deliver large scale, low-cost, reliable renewable energy, which Australia needs, as well as providing employment opportunities and supporting economic growth in local communities.”
The projects continue the big push into big solar in South Australia, which already sources about half of its electricity from large scale wind farms and rooftop solar.
However, two small solar farms have been built, or nearly built, in Whyalla and Peterborough, a 220MW solar farm in being built near Port Augusta, a 44MW solar farm announced (with battery storage) next to the Snowtown wind project, and SIMEC Zen and DP Energy have plans for hundreds of megawatts more.
Equis also has big plans for Queensland, where it is eyeing a 1,000MW solar farm – which would easily be the country’s biggest – in the heart of the state’s coal and gas region in the Surat Basin.