Australia to build first hybrid wind-solar farm

Australia to build first hybrid wind-solar farm

Australia’s first large-scale hybrid wind and solar farm is planned to be built near Canberra, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) providing a AUS$9.9 million grant.

The funds will go towards the $26 million cost of constructing a 10MW solar PV plant next to the existing Gullen Range windfarm.

China’s Goldwind, one of the companies that will build and operate the farm said the solar farm was anticipated to produce around 22,000MWh of electricity in the first year of operation, enough to supply 3,000 households.

Ivor Frischknecht, chief executive of Arena said building the solar farm on the same location as the windfarm meant 20% could be saved from the construction costs of the solar farm.

Arena commissioned an investigation recently into the costs and benefits of hybrid solar and wind farms.

The investigation found that besides huge cost savings, the two energy sources were often complementary and they could be combined to create a more reliable energy source.

“Co-location provides more continuous energy generation as windfarms tend to generate more energy overnight whilst solar only generates during the day,” explained Frischknecht. “Gullen windfarm generates more power in winter and the new solar farm will generate more in summer.”

The project is anticipated to be completed in July 2017. It will be built and owned by two Chinese companies – Goldwind and Beijing and Jingneng Clean Energy.

In addition to the Arena grant of $10 million, National Australia Bank and the Industrial and Commercial bank of China will provide another $10 million. The remaining $6 million will be funded by the existing windfarm.