The best performing solar farm in Australia in the month of October was one of the first solar farms to be built in Australia, and the first to feature single axis tracking technology.
The 56MW Moree solar farm, built in 2013 by FRV, delivered a “capacity factor” of near 33 per cent in the month of October, as solar farms in NSW dominated the top ten list compiled by energy consultants Rystad Energy.
Other NSW solar farms to perform well include the Griffith, Parkes and Colleambally solar farms owned and operated by Neoen, along with new additions to the grid Nevertire, now owned by Elliott Green Power, and Goonumbla, also owned by FRV.
The top 10 also featured a couple of other notable inclusions. The newly expanded Greenough River solar farm in Western Australia arrived at number 3. Greenough River was the first large scale solar farm in Australia, opened in 2012 with a size of 10MW, and had another 30MW (this time with single axis tracking) added this year.
Another interesting inclusion was Bungala 2, the 110MW second stage of what is currently the country’s biggest solar farm, which had been delayed for almost two years because of “technical” issues, believed to be the need to add harmonic filters. It only reached full output in the middle of this year.
The notable absentees from the top 10 were Queensland solar farms, which account for nearly half of the 50 or so solar farms connected to the grid in Australia, but which provided only two in the top ten – Clermont and Longreach.
“This should be a good time of the year to be a Queensland solar farm,” Rystad Energy’s David Dixon noted. But Queensland solar farms have been suffering from grid constraints and other issues, including negative pricing events.
Two of those worst affected – Sun Metals and Haughton – can be seen in the graph on the right with relatively low output compared to their rated capacity. They had capacity factors of less than 10 per cent.
Others to have very low capacity factors were projects just going through the commissioning phase now – Warwick 1 and 2 in Queensland, Kiamal in Victoria and the NSW solar farms Limondale and Darlington Point, which will overtake Bungala 1 and 2 as the country’s biggest solar farm once fully operational