Solar power in Australia: The country’s biggest projects
When it comes to the adoption of renewable energy, there’s nothing more impressive than solar power in Australia. Yet, large-scale solar projects only accounted for 1.8% of Australia’s clean energy and 0.3% of the country’s overall electricity generation in 2017.
With the government and the private sector having realised the opportunity in front of them, massive solar projects are now being undertaken across the country. In our blog post this week, we dive into some of Australia’s most impressive solar plans and projects.
Continue reading for a better understanding of why we’re known to be one of the biggest solar power providers in the world!
Solar Power Ensemble Forecaster
Given the effect of cloud cover on solar panel performance, the Industrial Monitoring and Control (IMC) organisation aims to develop forecast models to predict the impact of overcast conditions.
Valued at $2.91 million, the project aims to provide accurate, short-term solar forecasting by harnessing the power of some exciting technology. These include skyward-facing cameras, which use machine vision algorithms to track and predict cloud motion, satellite imaging-based, cloud motion vector modelling, and numerical weather predictions, to name just a few.
One of the biggest benefits of this project is that it will allow solar farms to better understand the impact of cloud conditions on energy collection. This will, undoubtedly, facilitate better planning and resource allocation in the future.
The solar power and crude oil beam pump project
Led by Santos Limited, this project aims to achieve an ambitious goal – prove the reliability of renewable energy in off-grid locations by combining renewable solar PV and a battery storage system.
The current phase of the project aims to install solar PV, with a capacity of 3.2 megawatts, and solar batteries in 56 oil wells in South Australia. Queensland is tasked with providing these sites with the renewable energy they need to run.
If the trial is successful, the company seeks to convert an additional 151 pumps in the same region to solar power and battery storage. If this stage is just as successful, 140 barrels of oil, which are presently needed to power the beam pumps, will be saved each day!
Solar farms are one of the biggest and most popular types of projects in Australia, not to mention, those that attract some of the heftiest investments.
Beginning late last year, construction for two of the country’s biggest solar farms is taking place in NSW. These include the 255-megawatt Sunraysia Solar Farm, which is expected to produce energy for around 50,000 homes, and the 349-megawatt Limondale solar project. The latter, a project undertaken by the German energy company, Innogy, is set to be the biggest solar farm in Australia.
These are, of course, in addition to the number of other solar farms that have been recently completed or recently commissioned. Given these developments, it’s only a matter of time until the country runs almost exclusively on renewable energy.
NSW Schools Energy Productivity Program (SEPP) Pilot
Another ambitious project furthering the use of solar power in Australia, ERM Power seeks to provide analysis, insight, and support to improve the existing procurement and deployment of renewable energy technologies in schools.
Supported by Schools Infrastructure NSW, whose current approach is still limited to procuring and installing LED lighting and large-scale solar PV systems, the project aims to extend and streamline these efforts through process designs and consultations on reducing energy costs.
It’ll be exciting to see affordable solar technologies being rolled out in schools across the state! We hope these spread far beyond NSW in the near future.
As these projects clearly demonstrate, solar power in Australia is truly a force to be contended with.
As impressive as the highlighted initiatives are, however, these are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the country is capable of. As solar power projects become more profitable and lucrative, the country is destined for renewable energy production that’s incomparable to almost anywhere else in the world!