The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing AUD9.9 million (US$7.5 million) support for New Gullen Range Wind Farm Pty Ltd (NGRWF) to develop and construct a 10 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant adjacent to the existing 165.5 MW Gullen Range Wind Farm near Canberra, Australia.
The total project investment is estimated at AUD26 million (US$19.7 million). It will be Australia’s first large-scale solar farm to be co-located with wind turbines.
NGRWF is jointly owned by Beijing and Jingneng Clean Energy (75%) and Goldwind Capital Australia (25%). Goldwind has developed the project up until obtaining a development approval. The farm will be constructed, owned and operated by NGRWF.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said solar and wind were complementary sources of renewable energy that produced power at different times of the day and year.
The potential co-location savings for the Gullen Range Solar Farm could be as high as AUD6 million (US$4.6 million), representing a 20 per cent drop in total project cost. Co-location is the cheapest way to construct large-scale solar and would be a key impetus for encouraging future projects.
The project is scheduled for completion in July 2017, with two years of knowledge sharing activities to follow.
There is huge potential to adopt this approach at other wind farms. An ARENA-supported study found there’s an estimated 1000 MW of potential opportunities to add solar PV alongside existing wind farms – enough to power 700,000 homes. Gullen Range Solar Farm has the potential to provide a blueprint for future projects and cement industry confidence in the approach.
Mr Frischknecht said:
“Co-location provides more continuous energy generation, as wind farms tend to generate more energy overnight whilst solar only generates during the day. Gullen Wind Farm generates more power in winter and the new solar farm will generate more in summer.”
“Wind farm owners across Australia could benefit from adding solar plants to their existing sites. Developers can save money on grid connection, approvals and site development costs by co-locating wind and solar plants, whilst also reducing environmental impacts.