Photon Energy plans 316MW solar farm for southern NSW

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Netherlands-based solar developer reveals plans to build largest solar farm in NSW – and one of biggest in Australia – a 316MW project near Gunning.

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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.

GunningPhoton

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. Gunning_proposed layout

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.

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8 Comments
  1. Mathew Hystek 1 year ago

    590 hectares of land? thats about 2.4 square km. Assuming an efficiency of the solar panels at 15%, and 100% land use efficiency, thats around 885MW of power out of 2.4 square Kilometers of land.

    Article states the power plant will be 316MW, which means land use efficiency is 35%.

    With a solar power plant, what costs more, the land or the technology?

    • Phillip Carter 1 year ago

      590 ha = 5.9sq km

      • Ian 1 year ago

        That’s funny. Mathew may have got his acres mixed up with hectares. If you convert 590 acres to km2 you get 2.4 km2. His point is good though 590 hectares paved over with solar panels. Are we creating a new type of pollution ? We celebrate the demise of fossil fuels but miss the problem of industrialisation of green sites.

        • Mike Dill 1 year ago

          It looks like the site is marginal grassland. Dual use should be possible if done right. You can probably run sheep under the arrays to keep the grass under control. Write off the sheep as a maintenance expense.

          • George Darroch 1 year ago

            It works for some farms, not for others. Definitely don’t put goats in there though!

        • Ren Stimpy 1 year ago

          It’s not as if land is scarce in Aus. Plenty of otherwise-unproductive land available for solar farms – they’re not going to put them on prime agricultural land or environmentally sensitive land. And btw still a huge amount of square km of rooftop space available for solar.

        • Mathew Hystek 1 year ago

          actually I square rooted 5900000 because i googled 590 hectares and didnt see square meters in the results as i dont know what a hectares is.

    • solarguy 1 year ago

      Phil’s correct 590 hectares = 5.9sq km. A fixed 316MW PV array can produce 1,264MWh per day this time of year, as long as it’s sunny.

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