Construction of a massive solar farm and battery project will be carried out in Riverland region in South Australia. Lyon Group, which is developing the battery storage, has said the project will be the biggest of its kind.
With as many as 3.4 million solar panels and 1.1 million batteries, construction of the $1 billion project is scheduled to begin in June. Company partner David Green said the project would create 270 Australian jobs.
He added that the project, which has been funded by investors and will be constructed on privately owned scrubland in Morgan, is going to be a “significant stimulus” for South Australia. “The combination of the solar and the battery will significantly enhance the capacity available in the South Australian market,” he said.
According to local media, which cited Green, the construction of the park is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. The company has made progress towards the project, including securing the land and working on the grid connection. With the team already on site, technology related to large-scale renewables and battery storage would “play a central role in keeping our electricity system stable, reducing prices, and reducing emissions,” Green said. “Right now, SA is at the forefront of an irrepressible global energy transition,” he added.
Lyon Group had earlier been in talks with the state government for constructing the world’s largest facility at Roxby Downs, called Kingfisher. It will constitute of a solar battery as big as a football field and also help in bringing down power outages.
The facility would provide electricity to the Olympic Dam. “If the 4.7 million solar panels at Riverland and Kingfisher were placed end to end, they would reach from Adelaide to Brisbane and back, and then all the way to Melbourne,” Green said.
Premier Jay Weatherill lauded the company’s efforts, adding that Lyon was one of other organisations who have shown interest in constructing a 100MW battery. He said renewable energy projects “represent the future.” The state government’s plan, announced this month, was to be financed by a new $150 million renewable technology fund. Bidders for the project would be considered in the upcoming weeks, Weatherill said.
Backed by US hedge fund Magnetar Capital, Lyon has a solar-plus-storage partnership with Mitsubishi Corp. As part of the association, Lyon is looking to construct 1GW of solar power generation capacity and 500MWh of storage in Australia by the end of 2020.