EOI Opens For Solar Farm In Berri, South Australia

Berri Solar Farm

Image: Berri Barmera Council

Expressions of Interest are now being called for the development of the Berri Renewable Energy Solar Generation Facility.

Berri is a town in the Riverland region of South Australia, approximately 240 kilometres north-east of Adelaide.

The $25 million venture will see a 10 megawatt solar farm built on the old Berri Racecourse on Moritz Road. The project will help support local economic growth and grid stability in the Riverland region.

“Berri Barmera Council is committed to developing the Riverland region as a renewable energy leader through the delivery of a predictable and cost-effective renewable energy supply,” said Berri Barmera Mayor Peter Hunt.

A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is currently being negotiated with a local industry customer with a large electricity load1 profile. It’s envisaged the negotiations will result in a 15 year PPA at an agreed rate.

 “Revenue from this project will support the Council’s budget and reduce the need for increasing rates to fund services and infrastructure expected by the community,” said Berri Barmera Council CEO André Stuyt.

A site inspection and briefing will occur early next month and the EOI close date is October 4. Preferred parties selected will be issued with a request for tender in November this year.

Berri Barmera Council is looking to the solar farm’s construction occurring between March and August next year.

Council has been offered a grant of just over $5 million under the State Local Government Infrastructure Partnership (SLGIP) to go towards the project and has access to discounted finance through the Local Government Finance Authority.

The council sees the solar farm as “transformative” for the region.

“From the opportunity to address energy security and cost issues for major local business and employers, to generating long-term revenue and reducing pressure on Council’s long-term financial plan, this positive ripple effect will be widely felt,” Mr Stuyt said.

Among the various other benefits of the solar farm will be an estimated 132 full time jobs during construction, 3 full time positions during the operation of the plant and associated economic activity within the region. Community economic benefit is one of the selection criteria to be used in screening potential development partners.

Berri Renewable Energy Solar Generation Facility will provide a big boost to the area’s PV capacity. According to Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator, there are approximately 820 small-scale solar power systems (<100kW) installed in the 5343 postcode, representing around 5.24MW of capacity in total.

Footnotes

  1. Electricity demand or load is measured in kilowatts (kW) or kilovolt amperes (kVA) and signifies the rate at which electricity is being consumed at a given time. kW and kVA are measures of power. Electricity consumption is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and indicates the amount of electricity consumed over a period of time. A kWh is a measure of energy. So, a business could have a significant electricity load or consumption profile, or both. For a more detailed discussion of kilowatts vs. kilowatt hours, see this post – knowing the difference is important if you’re considering buying a solar power system
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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