Uterne 4.1MW solar expansion complete, ready to power Alice Springs grid

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Australia’s largest solar PV farm with sun tracking technology, the 4.1MW Uterne project, is complete, giving Alice Springs one of highest solar penetration levels in country.

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Australia’s largest solar PV farm to use sun tracking technology, the 4.1MW Uterne project in Alice Springs, has been completed and is ready to supply electricity to the local power network.

One of only two large-scale solar projects to have been financed by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the newly expanded facility owned by Epuron Solar is expected to meet the electricity needs of about 1,100 homes, and gives Alice Springs one of the highest solar penetration levels in the country.

Uterne Alice Springs

The CEFC committed $13 million in finance to enable the expansion of the formely 1MW Uterne solar plant using tracking technology installed by SunPower, which enables the panels to follow the sun and deliver up to 30 per cent more energy than fixed-tilt installations.

In a statement on Thursday, Epuron acknowledged the key role of the CEFC’s financial backing in the project’s completion, as well as that of a long-term power purchase agreement backed by Territory Generation.

“The solar potential of Australia is obvious, and the CEFC stands ready to invest and help catalyse the finance required for the growth of utility-scale solar in Australia,” Yates said.

Epuron Executive Directors Martin Poole and Andrew Durran
Epuron Executive Directors Martin Poole and Andrew Durran

“The construction of more large-scale solar capacity will help drive down future construction and maintenance costs, as industry participants gain experience building and operating these projects.”

Of course, the federal government recently ordered the CEFC – which it still claims to want to dismantle – to narrow its focus to larger-scale solar projects, as well as projects using “emerging technologies”, and to cease supporting the development of wind farms or rooftop solar.

Currently, the CEFC has $78.8 million already committed to direct investment in 72.5MW of large-scale solar projects valued at $231.4 million, and is working on a further pipeline of investment opportunities valued at over $200 million.

It is also financing the 56MW Moree solar farm and Australia’s largest solar and battery storage project to date, at Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa mine in WA.

The Corporation is also working with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency on its $100 million program to support the development of up to 200MW of large-scale solar in Australia.

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2 Comments
  1. sunoba 4 years ago

    The LCOE for Uterne might be of interest. My estimates are as follows:
    Stage 1 (July 2011): AUD 364 per MWh
    Stage 2 (August 2015): AUD 230 per MWh
    Details at http://www.sunoba.blogspot.com (post for 20 August 2015).

    • David Osmond 4 years ago

      Nice one sunoba.

      Note that the following link says that the DC capacity of phase 1 was 3048 panels x 318 W = 969 kW (DC), so it’s actually a bit under 1 MW. That boosts the capacity factor up to 27.1%.

      I also note that in your LCOE calcs you’ve reduced the estimated output by 10%. I believe the 10% adjustment you’ve used should instead be used to convert the DC installed capacity to an estimated AC installed capacity (ie, the 969 kW installation (DC) is likely to have an 870 kW rated inverter (AC). I don’t think it was meant to be used to reduce the estimated output of 2300 MWh to 2070 MWh. I expect that the 2300 MWh output estimate already includes the inverter & other losses, but I’m just speculating.

      Both these adjustments should improve your LCOE estimates.

      cheers, Dave

      http://ecogeneration.com.au/news/tracking_in_the_outback_uterne_solar_power_plant/63242

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