Last week, installation of solar panels at what will be Australia’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power project commenced.
Construction of Western Australia’s 10 megawatt Greenough River Solar Farm, situated 50km south of Geraldton, began just four months ago.
Above-ground electrical infrastructure and structural support for the solar modules have been completed and now workers are busy installing 150,000 solar panels for the project, which will generate electricity for the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant near Binningup; also currently under construction.
The workers will spend up to two months installing the PV panels on 16,000 steel pole mounts and connecting the solar modules to around 60 kilometres of underground electrical cable that will link the solar farm to the south west grid.
Western Australia’s Energy Minister, Peter Collier believes the project will encourage development of larger-scale commercial solar power projects and help reduce the costs of renewable energy in the medium to long term.
Scheduled for completion in just a few months from now, Verve Energy’s project is expected to create almost 100 jobs and the state-owned power utility is looking to construct more solar farms. Verve Energy and GE Energy Financial Services each own 50 percent of the solar farm, with the Western Australian Government contributing $20 million in funding.
“The Greenough River Solar Farm is providing valuable experience for Verve Energy in the development of solar energy in WA,” said Tony Narvaez, General Manager, Strategy & Business Development, Verve Energy. “This experience will be very useful when Verve Energy pursues its aim to develop other solar farm projects in the near future.”
Covering around 80 hectares, the project will cost approximately $50 million total and will avoid 25,000 tonnes per year of greenhouse gas emissions. The 10-megawatts of solar panel capacity is only the first stage – the intention is to expand it 40MW in the future.