Innogy starts construction of Australia’s largest solar plant
Innogy has commenced initial construction works on Australia’s largest solar farm. The company has taken the final investment decision for the Limondale solar power plant which will have an installed capacity of 349 megawatts peak (MWp). Limondale, Australia’s largest solar project to date, will be located near Balranald, New South Wales.
Preparation works and pre-pilling tests are currently underway, with construction works expected to commence this October. Commissioning of the plant will take place progressively, with full commercial operation expected in mid-2020.
Innogy’s subsidiary BELECTRIC is the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor of the solar farm, as well as the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) service provider. BELECTRIC is an experienced company in the global solar market with nearly two gigawatts of executed projects globally, including projects in Australia, and is among the world´s leading O&M providers in the sector.
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In addition to Limondale, Innogy signed a contract to take over the project rights for the New South Wales development project Hillston in early 2018, with a planned capacity of 115 MWp. The transfer of the project company to Innogy is anticipated to take place end of this year. Both large-scale solar projects were developed by Overland Sun Farming, one of the solar leading Australian development companies.
The planned investment volume of both projects – Limondale and Hillston – totals to more than EUR400 million, or over AUD650 million. Innogy will review all options regarding the future ownership and financing structure of the projects in order to maximise value for the company and shareholders.
As a result of Innogy’s expansion into the Australian market, it has established the subsidiary Innogy Renewables Australia. The Melbourne based team is exploring further renewable opportunities including further solar, battery storage and wind (onshore and offshore) locally.
Hans Bünting, COO Renewables of Innogy SE, said: “It makes me proud that we can now start with the construction of our first utility-scale PV plant in Australia – one of the continents with the highest solar irradiation per square meter. To expand renewable energies it is of vital importance that beside the excellent yield the country is supportive for increasing the share of renewable energies.”
Thorsten Blanke, CEO of Innogy Renewables Australia Pty Ltd., added: “Electricity prices in Australia have risen strongly over the past decade and are among the highest in the world. An expansion of renewable energies can contribute towards reducing the energy costs for customers. Especially wind and solar are cost-effective alternatives in a country with excellent natural renewable resources.”