Downer Group to build Australia’s largest solar farm
Limondale project will have a megawatt peak of 349
The Limondale Solar Farm is set to be Australia’s largest solar power plant when it opens in 2020. Oversight of the construction will be handled by Sydney-based Downer Group. With a megawatt peak of 349, the facility near Balranald in New South Wales will eclipse the Bungala Solar Power Project, which has a capacity of 220 MW.
Solar power has been growing by leaps and bounds in Australia, which has seen nine of its 10 largest solar farms commissioned in 2018. According to the Clean Energy Council, Australia’s total large-scale solar capacity was 450 MW at the end of 2017.
German renewable energy company Innogy SE purchased the Limondale project from Overland Sun Farming, along with the 115 MW Hillston solar farm. Together, the developments are expected to cost more than $600 million and represent a continued commitment to solar energy in Australia, which has some of the world’s highest energy prices.
“Once the Limondale Solar Farm is built,” Trevor Cohen, executive director of Downer’s utilities business, said, “Downer will have constructed close to three gigawatts of renewable energy projects — making Downer a leader in the industry.”
Innogy plans to sell the output from Limondale and Hillston on the wholesale market, making them the country’s largest merchant projects. Australia receives the most solar energy of any continent in the world in terms of direct solar irradiance, measured by solar collectors on the ground that follow the sun’s path throughout the day.
Innogy subsidiary Belectric, which has an office in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern, awarded the construction contract to Downer.
“Thanks to Belectric’s existing network, we have been able to make our first significant utility-scale solar investment, not just anywhere, but in Australia – the continent with the highest solar irradiation per square metre,” Innogy COO Hans Bünting said in a statement.