Merredin Solar Farm Nears Completion

Merredin Solar Farm - Risen Energy Australia

Risen Energy Australia says its 132MW Merredin Solar Farm project in Western Australia should be connected to the grid next month.

Construction of the clean power station commenced at a site a few kilometres from the town of Merredin in WA’s central wheatbelt in March last year.

By early November 2019, 46,563 steel post foundations had been installed; on which the tracking systems and solar panels were to be mounted. By early December, associated civil and mechanical works were completed, 354,452 Risen Energy solar panels and 4,249 torque tubes were installed, 60km of cable trenching laid and 22 inverter stations set on their foundations.

At peak activity, 425 workers were at the project site and approximately 150 remain to continue with electrical works. Once this phase is complete, around 50 will stay on to finalise electrical installation and testing, which will continue through to the second quarter of this year.

Merredin’s local economy has benefited from the influx of workers and jobs provided to locals.

“The construction staff have used just about every business in the town including the newsagent, bottle shop, butcher, hair salons, restaurants, gift shops, pharmacy and hardware,” says Risen Energy Australia.

3-5 full time workers will be required to maintain the installation once commercial operations being.

Solar PV Popular In Merredin

The residents of Merredin are already quite familiar with solar power through local rooftop PV uptake. As at the end of November, there were approximately 394 small scale solar power systems in Merredin and the surrounding area; with a collective capacity of 1,867kW. With a population of approximately 2,678 in the 6415 postcode, this works out to 697 watts per person, well above the national small-scale (<100kW systems) average of around 420 watts.

In addition to Merredin Solar Farm, Risen Energy Australia has another large-scale solar energy project nearing prime time. Construction of its 121 MWdc/100 MWac Yarranlea Solar Farm near Pittsworth, about 50 kilometres west of Toowoomba in Queensland, was completed in August and the facility is currently in the commissioning and compliance phase. Commercial operations are expected to commence early this year.

Both Merredin and Yarranlea are expected to have battery storage added at some point in the future.

Risen Energy was founded in 1986 and has maintained a presence in Australia since 2008. The company has 10,000 employees globally and claims to be the sixth largest solar panel supplier in the world.

In November last year, Risen Energy increased the product warranty offered in Australia for rooftop installations of its solar panels from 12 to 15 years.

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.

Comments

  1. While I applaud the installation of another 2 solar farms I cannot help but look at them and see a massive waste of useful farm land. A commodity that is in very short supply in Australia a supply that is dwindling by the year. My first question is always: could they not raise the panels up a bit higher, plant fodder or allow the grass to grow and let cattle or sheep graze under them? Dual use must be better than this surely.

    I have seen these solar farms sprouting up in Europe and asked the same question: why waste perfectly good farmland on a single use. Its the equivalent of growing corn to make ethanol fuel – a waste of energy, very poor economics and poor use of good land. They are even floating them over the entire surface of lakes!

    I am constantly amazed to see the huge numbers of supermarket car parks covered in sunshade sails, endless bare roofs on factories, schools, hospitals and other large buildings much closer to the point of use. And here’s a crazy idea; why not cover all the streets of towns and cities with PV panels up at the level of the power poles? Minimise transmission distances, cool the streets and maybe reduce skin cancer as well!

    How much of our farmland are we going to misuse like this as we attempt to transition to a wholly solar future?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      If we converted Australia’s existing coal mines to solar farms their output would be greater than Australia’s total current generation, so any transition away from coal should free up more land in total.

      But yes, it does make more sense to put solar on roofs etc.

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