South Australia’s Riverland region is set to get another large-scale solar project, with the Berri Barmera Council issuing a tender to build and operate a 10MW PV farm just outside the township of Berri.
The tender, which is open to expressions of interest until October 4, calls for for the construction and operation of a 10MW solar farm to provide more stable supply and lower cost electricity to local consumers.
The Council-led project appears to be backed by a power purchase agreement with Accolade Wines – an SA-based global wine business owned by private equity company The Carlyle Group.
In a statement just over a year ago, Berri Barmera Mayor Peter Hunt said that, subject to the signing of that PPA, the council had adopted the Capital Budget for the establishment of the solar farm on Moritz Road.
Accolade is on the record as a supporter of solar power, having installed a 100kW solar system at its Mildura winery in 2016 to cut its grid power consumption.
The $25 million Berri solar project has also won a state government grant of $5 million, through the State Local Government Infrastructure Partnership under the former Labor Weatherill government.
Council says it will also have access to a discounted loan rate over 10 years for borrowings required and negotiated through the Local Government Finance Authority.
In a statement made last September, Berri Barmera Council CEO David Beaton said the rising cost of electricity and the falling cost of solar generation, coupled with the government grant, made the timing of the project “opportune.”
And he said that the 10MW solar farm would both support local industry and add an additional source of income for the Council.
“This is a very exciting project for the Council and the region,” said Mayor Hunt, in September. “Council staff have done the appropriate amount of due diligence to ensure the project’s success, but the $5 million contribution from the state government underpins its viability and success.”
Council says the PV project will provide “immediate economic stimulus” for the region through the creation of 132 full-time jobs during construction and three full-time positions during the operation of the plant.
Elsewhere in the Riverland, renewables developer Lyon Group is still working on plans to build up to 330MW of solar in Morgan, plus 100MW/400MWh of storage capacity.
And as we reported here in July 2017, a number of PV plants ranging from 200kW to 1MW are being built (or have already been built) on “redundant” farmland in the region by Yates Electrical Services.
The “Redmud Green Energy Projects” have currently added 10MW of small-scale distributed solar farms to the Riverland Region – one of those is pictured above – and are selling energy direct to the wholesale market.
A bit further to the west of the state, work is expected to begin on the Solar River Project in Robertstown in early 2019 with completion of the 220MW PV array and 120MWh lithium-ion battery in Stage 1 planned for the end of that year. Stage 2 – with a minimum of 200MW of generation and a 150MWh battery – is planned to begin construction in early 2020.