ARENA backs Conergy’s 10.8-MW PV-and-storage project in Australia
Lakeland solar-plus-storage project. Source: Lakeland Solar & Storage Pty Ltd.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) said Tuesday it will help finance Conergy’s 10.8-MW solar farm that will use a 1.4-MW/5.3-MWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery in far north Queensland state.
ARENA is contributing AUD 17.4 million (USD 13m/EUR 11.8m) towards the construction and operation of the photovoltaic (PV) facility by the Australian unit of the German downstream solar firm. The AUD-42.5-million solar plant will be located near the town of Lakeland.
“Figuring out how solar PV and battery storage technologies best work together at a large scale will be crucial for helping more renewables enter our grids,” ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht, said. Apart from storing the electricity generated by the solar park for use at times of peak demand and during the night, such fringe-of-grid hybrid installations can also help smooth solar energy output on cloudy days, especially in remote areas, he added.
Over its first two years of operations, the PV plant will undergo detailed battery tests of a concept known as “islanding” from the main electricity grid during the evening peak. Lakeland will run solely on solar and batteries for several hours during these tests. The experience gained through the operation will be provided to a knowledge sharing steering committee, established by ARENA and Conergy and joined by BHP Billiton, Ergon Energy Corp Ltd and Origin Energy.
The project will be connected to the network of Australian electricity distributor Ergon Energy. Once up and running in April 2017, the PV plant is expected to be able to generate and store enough electricity to power more than 3000 local households each year.