Renewable microgrid specialist MPower has begun early works on two new 5MW solar farms in South Australia, as the Tag Pacific subsidiary continues its focus on smaller grid-connected PV projects.
MPower said late last week it had secured Limited Notices to Proceed for the two solar farms, being developed by Astronergy Solar Australia.
The Notices include preliminary designs and associated activities to an initial value of $0.5 million, while MPower and Astroenergy prepared to execute full Engineering, Procurement and Construction contracts for the projects, worth a combined $8-9 million.
MPower said the two new projects – which follow last year’s commissioning of two 5MW solar farms at Mannum and Port Pirie, also in South Australia – aligned with the company’s strategy of targeting smaller projects that were easier to connect to an increasingly congested grid.
MPower said it was keen to work with the “blue chip” Astronergy on the new projects, which it said would “incorporate the latest technologies.”
“A key focus for MPower has been to build strong relationships with asset owners who prioritise power system reliability and understand the value of a well delivered project,” said MPower CEO Nathan Wise.
“MPower has developed an enviable capability in the successful delivery of 5MW solar farms and continues to strengthen its order book in the growing renewable energy sector.”
MPower has not been the only company to turn its attention to smaller-scale solar farms. Meralli Solar has been using Belectric PEG frame technology to develop sub-10MW projects in a short timeframe and with a much reduced environmental impact.
Meralli’s smaller-scale projects – described as “cutting edge” for their use of both DC optimisers and DC coupled battery architecture for central inverters – can get by 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.
Elsewhere, the UK-based $150 million Foresight Renewable Energy Income Fund has extended its focus on smaller-scale wind and solar projects to Australia, via loans of $5-$30 million aimed at filling a gap for smaller-scale solar and wind developers looking for project finance.