Queensland’s 50MW Kidston Solar Project (Phase 1) On Track

Kidston Solar Project - KSP1

Soon to be home to 540,000 solar panels – Image: Genex Power

Phase One of the Kidston Solar Project (KSP1) remains on budget and on track for first electricity generation in the final quarter of this year according to the project’s developer, Genex Power.

The 50MW (AC) project is located approximately 270km north-west of Townsville, near Georgetown and on the site of the old Kidston Gold Mine.

The site boasts some of the highest solar radiation levels in Australia and will apparently be hosting the only major solar project (so far) located in the so-called “red zone” (>24MJ/m2 per day) that’s also connected to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

540,000 solar panels are to be installed at the site; with the first phase to be fully completed in the first quarter of next year. The facility has an expected service life of 30 years.

Genex provided an update on the solar farm’s progress yesterday, stating that site clearing was now more than 50% complete, access road construction was in progress and construction site facilities had been installed.

The company says civil works have also been completed at the Ergon substation and earthworks were underway for the solar farm substation and operations and maintenance platform. An area for storing material and components is 70% complete and an order has been placed for the main transformer for the solar farm’s substation.

“Genex remains very focused on delivering the project on time and on budget,” said Managing Director of Genex Power Michael Addison.

The project is providing much-needed jobs in the area. According to the Townsville Bulletin, 20 staff have already been hired, with Genex to recruit another 65.

Once up and running, KSP1 will generate in the region of 145 gigawatt hours of solar electricity per year; providing enough power to meet the electricity needs of the equivalent of 26,484 Australian homes while avoiding 120,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

But wait, there’s more – also in the works are the Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project (250MW) and Phase Two of the Kidston Solar Project ( 270MW); with the latter to well and truly dwarf this initial stage.

Things are certainly powering ahead in Queensland with regard to large-scale PV and the state also leads the way in terms of small-scale solar power installations. According to the most recent data from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator, Queensland is home to more than 503,000 solar panel systems. Added to that are nearly 260,000 solar hot water systems and heat pumps. 

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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