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Queensland’s biggest solar farm connects to the grid

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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 two new solar farms join a string of new solar projects connected in Queensland, NSW and South Australia in the last few weeks, including Australia’s biggest that has just begun production.

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.  

Pocket
  • MaxG

    Nice, I have the same rail/mounting system 🙂

  • Good, but at least a decade too late.

    • Barry Alternative Fact Covfefe

      Indeed, please use your time machine to transport suitcases of cash to 2008 and buy solar panels (the price was also much higher then so you probably need 10x as much).

      • Yes but markets aren’t the only factor when it comes to the adoption of new technology.

        • Barry Alternative Fact Covfefe

          If you can carry that many panels back with you then please do

  • Ryan Thorp

    I think the photo provided isn’t of the Clare solar farm. I worked on that project, and a different mounting system was used.

  • solarguy

    And when will it’s output be on the widget?

    • It appeared automatically as soon as data started feeding.

      • George Darroch

        You see a nice little orange slice appearing in the last few days.

  • Major Sceptic

    So how many houses would a 100 million watt solar farm service ?
    And how many farms do we need to be close to covered ?

    • solarguy

      Troll some where else major goose.

      • Major Sceptic

        Its an honest question , no trolling .
        If you cant take an honest question without getting hostile, what good are you.

    • Eric Stapleton

      I’m definitely not an expert but I think at full output it would be enough for about 30,000 homes. 100,000,000 watts = 100,000 kw. If it produces that much for 1 hour then it’s 100,000kwh (peak output). An average house would use about 3kwh (peak). I could be totally wrong here but my guess is based on that. My own rooftop panels produce between 2-3 Kw (sometimes a bit more on a good day) and my power bill is in credit for most of the summer, despite being paid 2/3rds less for my excess power sold to the utility that sells me the rest of my needs. Any techies out there please correct my guess if it’s wrong…I’d be interested myself.

      • Major Sceptic

        Sounds a reasonable guess, thanks for the reply .

  • georgina

    Great…so when does my reduced Origin bill start?

    • solarguy

      As soon as you get PV installed on your roof.

  • Edgar

    $2.6 billion in projects to be connected this year? Tony and the God-Squad will be livid!

    Why you could have almost built half a coal-burner for that price! and got yourself some real, honest-to-god despatchable baseload store-bought electrickery.
    And only 2760 jobs? why for half that price Adani would have generated 10,000 jobs… or possibly 100,000… sumthin’ like that anyhow.