Netherlands-based solar developer Photon Energy has revealed plans to build what could be the largest solar farm in the state of New South Wales – and one of the biggest in Australia – a 316MW project near Gunning, in the state’s south.
Photon said on Tuesday that the proposed solar power plant, which would be constructed on 590 hectares of land about 70km north of Canberra, was currently going through the permitting and grid connection processes, with construction slated for early 2019.
The company said it is in talks with NSW and ACT network operator, Transgrid over the design of a substation for around 300MW to be connected to its 330 KV grid. It has also set up a community engagement page on its website, to keep residents informed and field any questions or concerns.
Elsewhere, Photon is currently developing several other large-scale solar PV projects in NSW, including a 99kW array at a sewerage treatment plant in Leeton.
That power plant will use Photon’s Energy Command smart control and demand response technology to supply around 162MWh a year for the plant’s sewerage treatment, helping Leeton Shire Council cut their energy bills.
And last year, a solar and battery storage system designed and delivered by Photon won an International Award for Excellence in Sustainability, for demonstrating the reliability of solar in demanding conditions.
The pilot project, commissioned by Broadcast Australia, delivers clean energy to a radio antenna in Muswellbrook, which delivers broadcasting, radio, and critical emergency services for over 50,000 end users within a 500km radius.
But Gunning marks Photon’s biggest solar plans, so far, in Australia, where the company says it hopes to make “a material contribution” to Australia’s renewable energy target.
“Today’s announcement puts us into a leading position in the Australian market for utility-scale solar projects and confirms our ability to identify suitable locations in the world’s sunniest continent,” said Photon CEO Georg Hotar, in comments on Thursday.
“(It also) reinforces our commitment to contribute substantially to the transformation of Australia’s energy mix towards renewable energy sources,” he said.
There are currently six solar projects under construction or at financial close in NSW, totalling 200MW, according to RenewEconomy data. This Gunning Solar Farm takes the additional announced “pipeline” or projects approved, or awaiting approval, to 22 – slightly more than 2,200MW.