Warwick solar farm – UQ’s ticket to 100% renewables – now fully energised

The 64MW Warwick Solar Farm that is 100 per cent owned by the University of Queensland and the centrepiece of the university’s shift to 100 per cent renewables, has been fully energised.

The milestone was marked by Warwick solar farm project director and University of Queensland Energy & Sustainability Lead, Andrew Wilson, in a post on LinkedIn on Monday.

“Both stages now energised and on the countdown to the start of hold point commissioning. Huge thanks to the Ergon Energy team for their outstanding efforts in helping us get to this point,” Wilson said.

The $125 million project, in Queensland’s Southern Downs region, came under the ownership of UQ in November of 2018 after the University bought it for a cost rumoured to be around the $60s/MWh mark.

The solar farm is expected to generate more than 154GWh of renewable electricity a year – which is as much or more electricity each year than the University needs – and adds to more than 6.3MW of solar already installed on the rooftop of the UQ’s St Lucia campus and at its research facility at Gatton and other sites.

The University has also installed a 1.1MW/2.15MWh Tesla Powerpack battery system which, as RenewEconomy reported in May,  has saved almost $74,000 on electricity costs in just three months.

A 38-page report published by the UQ’s Energy and Sustainability team showed the battery system – itself paid for using savings from the University’s existing solar systems – had generated $73,938 in value during Q1 2020, both by storing energy when grid prices were low and discharging when they were high, but also – in fact, mostly – by helping to balance the grid, including jumping to attention when major coal plants failed.

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