German company Belectric has announced it has gained planning approval for a 5MW solar PV power plant in Mildura.
Belectric, the world’s largest solar PV EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor, says the plant will be developed in collaboration with Clean Technology Partners.
It is not releasing further details about its plans until it has locked in a power purchase agreement and financing, but the company says it will be the first of many solar projects in Australia. The Mildura plant will be a fixed, non tracking solar PV system.
“The planning permit is the first step toward implementing further solar projects in Australia,” Nir Dekel, the managing director of Belectric Australia, said in a statement. “We thank the Mildura Council for its active cooperation and also Clean Technology Partners who have successfully engaged with the network operator for permission to connect.”
Dekel told RenewEconomy that the 5MW was chosen for Mildura because it was one of the best locations in Australia, with excellent solar resources, close to the grid, and support from the local council and business.
The 5MW plant will be treated as something of a test project for the company. “It is for us a project from which we will learn about doing business in Australia – building plants, obtaining finance …. and to gauge the potential of future projects,” he said.
Clean Technology Partners managing director Lachlan Bateman said Australia offers excellent conditions for solar PV farms and is one of the growh markets of the future. It has signed a framework agreement with Belectric for future projects.
RenewEconomy understands that numerous other European EPC contractors are also studying opportunities in Australia as the industry moves from one dependent on subsidies to an independent one. Many, however, will rely on power purchase agreements with utilities.
The largest solar PV plant in Australia is the 10MW Greenough River solar farm in WA, completed late last year. Another 20MW solar PV plant is to be built by FRV in the next 12 months in the ACT, while AGL plans a 157MW solar PV power plant near Broken Hill and Nyngan.