Tailem Bend solar farm officially opens, now for second stage and battery

The 95MW Tailem Bend solar farm – the second large scale solar farm in South Australia has been officially opened, with the developers now looking at a similar sized second stage of the project, and the addition of battery storage.

More than 390,000 solar panels have been installed at the $200 million project, east of Adelaide, and will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of around 40,000 South Australian homes, with economic benefits flowing from the project to the Tailem Bend region.

The solar farm came into full operation earlier this year, after having to be pared down from its original 108MW capacity due to connection and system constraints, but was formally opened this week by owners Vena Energy and off-taker Snowy Hydro, which has a 22-year contract through its retail subsidiary Lumo.

“It is very satisfying that this has come together like we planned and it’s a great demonstration of what can be achieved after lots of hard work by our staff, landowners, consultants, contractors and regulators, including many local suppliers who have been with us from the start,”  Vena Energy managing director Anil Nangia said.

The Tailem Bend solar project was just the first stage of a wider plan for solar and battery storage for the region.

Vena Energy expects to proceed with the completion of stage two of the Tailem Bend solar farm, which will be similar in scale to the first stage. Vena Energy also has plans for a Tailem Bend Battery Energy Storage Project.

Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad noted that it was the first solar project the company contracted with. It has since contracted with four new solar projects and four new wind projects in a tender that delivered “firm” wind and solar for prices under $70/MWh, well under the current cost of baseload power.

During the construction of the Tailem Bend project, more than 250 workers were employed to provide construction services including excavators, bulldozers, graders, cranes, trucks and trenchers.

A significant portion of those employed on the project were hired from the local region around the solar farm.

Tailem Bend is a great spot for this project and highlights the region’s natural advantages,” local Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick said.

“I’ve certainly appreciated the extra jobs and money going into businesses near Tailem Bend.”

The project was finished within 12-months from the commencement of construction.

Michael Mazengarb

Michael Mazengarb is a journalist with RenewEconomy, based in Sydney. Before joining RenewEconomy, Michael worked in the renewable energy sector for more than a decade.

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