Risen Energy has further expanded its growing portfolio of large scale solar farms in Australia, buying the 100MW (AC) Merredin solar farm and promising to begin construction of what will be Western Australia’s largest solar farm by the end of the year.
The solar project at Merredin is located in the sun-rich wheatbelt region of W.A., and will be located near the state’s biggest wind farm, the 207MW Collgar facility, and the state’s most pointless power installation, the 82MW Merredin diesel peaking plant that has never been switched on.
Risen Energy, a leading Chinese module supplier which is also building the 100MW Yarranlea solar project in Queensland, expects the Merredin project – which will feature single axis tracking technology – will deliver around 281GWh a year, which is a capacity factor of around 32 per cent.
The Merredin solar project was initially developed by Stellata Energy, and UK-based investment manager Ingenious Infrastructure.
John Zhong, the head of project development and investment director for Risen Energy Australia, says construction is expected to begin before the end of the year and be completed 12 months later.
Risen is aiming to build a portfolio of more than 2GW of large-scale renewable energy projects, and is looking to add storage – as it has already discussed for Yarranlea.
“Risen Energy is going to invest progressively in an excess of 2GW of renewable projects in Australia with further investments in storage in the future,” Zhong said in a statement.
“We will be acquiring projects that are shovel ready, projects that are looking for financial and/or EPC partners, projects that are looking for a co-developer.”
Merredin will be by far the biggest solar farm to be built in W.A, although it could be rivalled by the Sun Brilliance solar farm of around the same size, should that project ever begin construction.
Other solar farms in the state include the original 10MW Greenough River Solar farm, which was built in 2012, before a three-year investment drought engineered by the then Liberal government, whose energy minister at the time said he hoped he would never have to open another such facility.
Greenough River is soon to have another 30MW added to that original installation, the 20MW Emu Downs solar farm next to the wind farm of the same name, and the nearly completed 10MW Northam solar farm.
APA is also looking to add a 17.5MW solar farm to the Badgingarra wind project, which like the Emu Downs hybrid will be located near Geraldton in the state’s mid north.
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.