Barcaldine Solar Farm achieves first generation

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The Barcaldine Remote Community Solar Farm, developed with support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has begun feeding electricity into the grid.

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Developed by Elecnor Australia, Barcaldine has the potential to produce enough renewable energy to power around 9,800 households once it reaches maximum generation by the end of the year.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht noted that Barcaldine was one of the first ARENA-funded solar plants and has helped pave the way for the next generation of 12 large-scale solar farms to be built across the country by the end of next year.

“Supported by ARENA, six big solar plants in Queensland, five in New South Wales and one in Western Australia are expected to triple Australia’s large-scale solar capacity providing enough energy to power 150,000 average Australian homes,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“ARENA’s unprecedented investment in large-scale solar is expected to unlock almost $1 billion in commercial investment and boost regional economies.”

The plant is fitted with more than 78,000 single axis tracking solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which will have a capacity of 20 MW AC (25 MW DC) when fully operational.

“As well as generating clean energy, the project is demonstrating how project developers can monetise network benefits and ultimately how solar farms can improve network efficiency and reliability at the edge of the grid,” Mr Frischknecht concluded.

The Barcaldine Solar Farm was developed with 22.8 million in funding from ARENA and a $20 million debt finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

Elecnor Business Developer Manager Manuel Lopez-Velez said the Barcaldine Solar Farm was expected to be operating at peak capacity in the next couple of weeks.

“Barcaldine Solar Farm when fully operational will generate around 57,000 MWh of clean energy per year, an energy consumption equivalent to approximately 9,800 households,” Mr Lopez-Velez concluded.