Solar farms offer boost to stability

Eye Energy Systems hopes it could have its solar farms at Wudinna and Cleve up and running by 2019, which would increase the region’s energy stability.

The company has been working on its solar farm project since before the 2016 statewide blackout and is looking to start construction early next year, with land tenure secured.

Eye Energy Systems director Alfredo Nistico said the company was hoping for a construction date in 2018 but was still working with SA Power Networks on the “technical details of the project”.

“We hope to be in the construction stage in 2018 but it depends on technical requirements with SA Power Networks and other players such as ESCOSA (Essential Services Commission of South Australia), the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Electranet and the Australian Technical Regulator,” he said.

“We have started talks with all except AEMO and we had hoped to be at a better point by this time but there have been a few delays.

“We are expecting the build would take six to eight months and so we could potentially be finished by this time next year.”

The project would involve the creation of 25 megawatts of solar and associated storage at Wudinna and 30 megawatts at Yadnarie sub-station near Cleve.

Mr Nistico said they would also look at other sites.

“We saw the potential for small to medium solar farms across Eyre Peninsula, we had looked at four but narrowed it down to two sites.

“A solar farm at Ceduna was not seen as viable under the conditions, however there is now the potential for a smaller unit in Ceduna and perhaps at Streaky Bay.”

The project would involve single axis tracking, which would follow the sun, creating a 30 per cent improvement in efficiency.

Mr Nistico said this would put the farm “at the top end of solar farm efficiency”.

The projects would have a combined generating capacity of 60MWp of solar PV, about 120GWh a year.

It would generate an expected $100 million in economic activity and create 100 jobs during peak construction, in addition to 10 full time positions.

“There are considerable benefits for the wider region as this would contribute to the energy stability, with the solar PV generators to work cooperatively with wind farms, so the region would have more energy security,” Mr Nistico said.

“There is the benefit in improvement consumption and energy stability if the network north of Cleve were to drop out, as has happened before.

“We want to use as many local contractors as possible and have had discussions with various parties, while we would build up a local maintenance group and provide training to locals with skills transferable for elsewhere in the industry.”