Solar Power Deal To Help Keep Water Bills Down In Victoria

Kiamal solar farm

Thirteen of Victoria’s water corporations have banded together to buy electricity from Kiamal Solar Farm in north-west Victoria, at a rate cheaper than would have been possible acting individually.

Construction of  stage 1 of Kiamal solar farm near Ouyen – approximately 100 km south of Mildura – commenced last year. By October 2018, project developer Total Eren had already signed three Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for Kiamal – with Mars Australia, Flow Power and Alinta Energy.

The 256.5MWp (200MWac) Stage 1 of Kiamal will be comprised of 720,000 Canadian Solar panels (KuMax modules1 mounted on single-axis trackers. The project is expected to commence commercial operations in the middle of this year.

A second stage of up to 194MWp is to follow and Total Eren will also explore the possibility of adding 380MWh of energy storage; which has already been approved.

The deal between Kiamal and the thirteen Victorian water corporations will enable each participant to purchase between 20 to 50 per cent of their total electricity needs from the solar farm and slash carbon dioxide emissions by 80,000 tonnes each year.

“It’s great to see our state’s water corporations working together on this innovative new model, which will not only help protect our environment into the future but also keep water bills affordable for Victorians,” said Victorian Minister for Water, Lisa Neville.

How Much For The Solar Electricity?

Figures weren’t revealed regarding how much the corporations, which have formed a company named Zero Emissions Water Ltd (ZEW), will be paying per megawatt-hour for the solar electricity. It seems the deals struck with the original Kiamal PPA players were similarly hush-hush, although Flow Power commented it was “really cheap” – well below market rates.

There are 19 water corporation across the state; so around two-thirds are involved. According to Yarra Valley Water, they are:

  • Barwon Water
  • Central Highlands Water
  • City West Water
  • Coliban Water
  • East Gippsland Water
  • Gippsland and Southern Rural Water
  • Lower Murray Water
  • South East Water
  • South Gippsland Water
  • Wannon Water
  • Westernport Water
  • Western Water
  • Yarra Valley Water

Yarra Valley Water will purchase 7,000 mega-watt hours of electricity per year; 25 per cent of its total annual electricity requirements. Yarra Valley Water aims to be running on 100 per cent renewables by 2025.

France-based Total Eren has a 1,300MW+ portfolio of wind, solar and hydroelectric assets worldwide either in operation or under construction. It has set its sights on achieving a global net installed capacity of more than 3GW by 2022  Kiamal Solar Farm represents Total Eren’s first investment in Australia.

Footnotes

  1. Canadian Solar’s KuMax panels are also being used at Finley Solar Farm in New South Wales
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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