The 100MW Clare solar farm – the biggest to date in Queensland – has begun exporting to the grid, as some 1400MW of large scale solar projects in the state get ready to begin production this year.
Clare, located some 35 km southwest of Ayr, in north Queensland is the twice the size of the current biggest operating solar farm in the state, the recently connected 50MW Kinston project, although it will soon be overtaken.
The Clare solar farm is owned by Lighthouse Solar, whose have another project in north Queensland, the 20MW Hughenden solar farm, that is also now registered with AEMO and appears poised to begin production.
Clare has been injecting up to 20MW in each of the last few days (See graph below).
The new solar farms are part of a boom in large scale solar that is about to have an impact on the grid, with some 1400MW, or $2.6 billion of projects to be connected this year, according to the Clean Energy Council.
The CEC, which hosted a large scale solar forum in Brisbane on Tuesday, said the large scale solar investment boom had added 2760 jobs.
All projects will form part of the state’s 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030. Until late last year, the state had no large scale wind or solar farms, even though it led the country in the installation of rooftop solar, with some 2GW of installed capacity.
“Large-scale solar has gone from an emerging technology in Australia at the beginning of the decade to a genuinely game-changing form of power that is cheaper than new coal or gas. It has exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic predictions,” CEC chief executive Kane Thornton said.
“Along with the national Renewable Energy Target, support from the Queensland Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation has helped to make this one of the lowest-cost options we have for electricity today.”
The Clare solar farm has a power purchase agreement with Origin Energy, as does the newly connected Bungala solar farm, which will be the biggest in Australia when complete.