Australia’s largest integrated battery and solar farm in north-west Victoria ushers in a big lithium-ion battery era for the ‘solar state’.
The Victorian State Government has linked up the 50 MWh grid-scale Gannawarra Energy Storage System with the adjacent 60 MW Gannawarra Solar Farm.
Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio officially opened the integrated lithium ion battery and solar panel farm near Kerang, close to the Victoria – New South Wales border this week.
Regional Victoria trialling large-scale battery systems
The state government has invested $25 million in two big batteries in north-west Victoria.
The second lithium ion battery is the Ballarat Energy Storage System. Both started operation in summer 2018-19.
Tesla Powerpack units power the 50 MWh Gannawarra storage system – one of the largest batteries of its type in the world.
The adjacent solar farm charges the battery. The stored power is then sent back to the grid when required. The battery is large enough to power 16,000 households for two hours during peak demand.
SA kicked off Australia’s big lithium-ion battery era
South Australia kicked off Australia’s big lithium-ion battery pursuit with Elon Musk’s mega-battery at the Hornsdale Power Reserve near Jamestown.
The largest lithium-ion battery in the world came online in December 2017 following state-wide blackouts. It then saved taxpayers an estimated $35 million in its first four months of operation.
The Tesla Powerpack used at Hornsdale and Gannawarra is the commercial equivalent of the domestic Tesla Powerwall 2.
Another big lithium ion battery was completed earlier this year on SA’s Yorke Peninsula. Now the rest of Australia is following suit.
Townsville is the site of Queensland’s first grid-scale battery, now being built. The City of Sydney is also building an industrial-scale solar battery system at a city works depot.
Victoria celebrates Solar Homes success
Meanwhile, Victoria’s highly successful Solar Homes program re-opened for applications on July 1.
According to the state government, the program paid out its 10,000th rebate in April.
It offers solar panel rebates of 50 per cent or $2,250 (whichever is lowest) to eligible households.
Since July 1 the extended scheme will cover:
- New solar battery rebate up to $4,839;
- Solar panel rebate for tenants and renters up to $2,225; and
- Interest-free loans for solar power system, repayable over 4 years.
The addition of lithium ion batteries to the program will also help feed the growing demand. That’s because households are now installing solar home batteries to firm up their clean energy supply.