Another small, but smart and battery-ready solar farm has been completed by developers Meralli Solar in South Australia, with the installation of the 8.9MW (DC) Baroota project in just eight weeks.
The project, in Port Germein in the state’s Spencer Gulf region, used the Belectric PEG frame system favoured by Meralli, which allows for rapid installation and a much reduced environmental impact.
Once installed, the PV panels – in this case, 23,200 of them – sit less than a metre high and require no concrete footings. The solar farm – which was financed by a group of local investors, including landholders and farmers – is also battery ready.
“The Baroota project offered us the opportunity to build our own distributed energy project, demonstrating what is possible at a local level,” said Jeff Packer, managing director of Watt Power Brokers.
“We anticipate battery storage as the energy landscape evolves. No multi-nationals here; just Australians finding a better way!” he said.
“We believe the PEG system, in particular the Meralli ‘version,’ represents a more sensible and sustainable use of resources in deploying solar photovoltaics. We had considered a single-axis tracker but at the end of the day PEG was a ‘no-brainer’ for us!”
The completion of Baroota follows last month’s electrification of Meralli’s 9MW Kanowna solar farm near Moree, in New South Wales, described as “cutting edge” for its use of both DC optimisers and DC coupled battery architecture for central inverters.
As GIles Parkinson has noted, the combination means it can get by the restrictions being imposed by network operators, and maximise the output of both the solar farm and any battery storage, which can then be sent to the grid at times of peak demand or in the evening.
This seems to have worked for Baroota, too, with Packer noting that the grid connection process went “incredibly smoothly,” and thanking SA Power Networks, “who couldn’t have been more helpful.”
Meralli principal, Dr Methuen Morgan, said the project exemplified the opportunity for agricultural diversification.
“Together with it providing the investors with an independent revenue stream once the planned batteries have been installed, it will contribute to the stability of the SA electricity grid,” he said.
Beyond Baroota, Meralli has a number of further solar projects either underway, or in the development pipeline.
“We are currently finalising the detail associated with another project in South Australia,” Dr Morgan said.
“We are working on a smaller 700kw project at a feedlot in Queensland, two six MW projects in South Australia and two nine MW projects in NSW,” he said.