by Steven Randall
Everyone in Australia and in many other places know of our beautiful summers and the stunning sunshine and beaches we enjoy. But, in researching the data for the Renewable Energy Projects map, we discovered that Australia actually has one of the highest land surface radiation levels in the world. This makes it an ideal place to develop a Solar power Generation industry, as part of the nation's Renewable's program.
Many people think of the common rooftop home Solar power setup - a number of solar panels on the roof of the home, with electric power and maybe water heating for the family, and reducing the family power bill as well...
Well, this system has taken off so well in Australia, that at the end of 2015, nearly 1 million family homes across the country had Solar P.V. systems installed. This is starting to make a significant effect on the plans by some state power generators in terms of planning new fossil fueled power stations.
But Solar PV systems are now going much further than this, as the technology for the Photo voltaic panels advances rapidly in terms of lower cost and higher efficiency in converting the sun's energy into electric power.
This huge PV panel array that makes up the Moree Solar Farm in outback NSW...
... is an example of how the Solar industry in Australia is rapidly gaining traction. This solar system will incorporate all the latest panel technology, including machinery to enable the panels to track the sun across the sky, vastly increasing the system's generating capacity. The system will generate 60 MW of stand alone power, and take nearly 100,000 tons of CO2 out of the environment each year.
But more is on the horizon, as a group of companies combine over the next few years to build a massive power generation plant called Kennedy Energy Park in central eastern Queensland. The giant system, similar to the one shown below in the USA...
... will contain wind farms, and solar panel arrays that will ultimately have a generating capacity of around 1,300 MW of power, enough to supply over 250,000 homes, sand eliminate 200,000 tons of CO2 per years from the environment.
Lithium Battery storage is another rapidly advancing technology that provides the possibility of helping make wind and solar generated power more reliable, and even create Base Load capability in the future.
The developers of the $1 billion South Australian project called Riverland Storage Project - Lyon Group - said construction of the plant, which will include 330 MW of solar P.V and a 100 MW / 400 MW hr battery storage system, would begin in the coming months, with operations set to commence by the end of 2017.
“Riverland Solar Storage … will be Australia’s biggest solar farm with 3.4 million solar panels and will also include 1.1 million batteries,” said Lyon partner David Green, at the project launch.
Lyon Group plans to build the record-breaking solar plant in South Australia, along with plans to build a minimum of 100 MW of solar PV paired with 100 MW h of battery storage (supplied by AES) near Roxby Downs.
Green said that project, called Kingfisher Solar Storage, was also likely to start construction in 2017, now with 120 MW of solar and 200 MW h of storage. Both will have battery storage systems larger than any already operating around the world, he said.
As we consider all these new projects; the already established ones, and the advances in technology being brought to light almost every day, it's not hard to understand that Renewable Energy is taking significant strides towards full commercial standing in the near future.
Next article we will consider the very first Renewable Energy system to come to Australia - Hydro Electric Power - originating in the Snowy Hydro Scheme, and where it fits in the Renewable mix. For any information on this or any other mapping product from Business Maps Australia, please call us on 0455 296 533.