More Big Solar Planned For The Northern Territory

2018 could be the year large-scale solar really starts to make its presence felt in the Northern Territory, with at least two major projects in the works.

Rimfire Group has announced plans to build a 10MW solar farm nearly Batchelor, 100 kilometres south of Darwin. According to NT News (paywall), the $16 million project is to be constructed on land leased from Territory Property Group. Power generated by the proposed facility will be sold through Rimfire Group’s subsidiary, Rimfire Energy.

Rimfire Energy has been operating as a commercial electricity retailer in the Northern Territory since 2014. Originally focused on large commercial customers, the company has expanded into selling electricity to a select group of small business and residential customers.

NT News says the 10MW project would be the largest solar farm in the Northern Territory.

Assuming the project goes ahead and is completed very soon, it may not hold that title for long.

Katherine Solar Farm Progress

Early this month, Katherine Solar Pty Ltd filed an application (PDF) for a generation license associated with a 25 MW AC solar photovoltaic facility (32MW DC) to be constructed at a site approximately 5 km of Katherine, near the Stuart Highway.

All generation output from the facility, an expected 70 gigawatt-hours a year, will be exported via a direct connection to Power & Water Corporation’s 132 / 22kV Katherine Zone Substation.

Katherine Solar Farm is to be comprised of solar panels mounted on single axis trackers to increase yield.

The project secured a development permit in February this year and is targeted for construction in 2018.

Katherine Solar Pty Ltd is 50% owned by Epuron Projects Pty Ltd and 50% owned by IGP Solar PV Plant Number 3 Limited (Island GP).

Epuron is no stranger to PV – the company has been developing solar and wind energy projects in Australia since 2003. Among its other significant PV projects in the Territory are Yulara (1.8MW), Uterne (4.1MW), Ti Tree (323kW), Lake Nash (272kW) and Kalkarindji (408kW). The latter three installations formed the TKLN project, which supplies three of Australia’s most remote aboriginal townships with essential power.

Island GP is a UK company that has developed more than 20 solar projects in the UK and Europe. The company has 150 MW operating capacity in its portfolio and 30 MW currently under construction.

NT Roadmap To Renewables Report Still MIA

The Northern Territory’s Economic Development Framework report released in June this year stated solar power to be the most promising way to reach the State Government’s renewable energy target of 50% by 2030. An important step towards achieving that goal is the Roadmap to Renewables report, which was to be presented to the NT Government in mid-2017 but is yet to materialise.

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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