Australia: Fully-commissioned utility-scale PV capacity to double by July


As the year of plenty for utility-scale solar PV in Australia is unfolding, independent energy business intelligence provider Rystad Energy has provided an insight into the project completion and commissioning process. The company, in its monthly SERA newsletter, has reported that within the next two months the total capacity of utility scale solar PV assets connected to the grid will double.
By July, Rystad anticipates 449 MW of large scale PV to be fully operational, as a range of larger projects (Sun Metals, Clare, Longreach, Gannawarra, Bungala Phase 1, and Manildra) complete their commissioning phase. During the commissioning phase operators gradually increase production capacity of a site to test the plant, before connecting it to the grid in a fully operational capacity.
According to the Rystad’s SERA tracker the next projects to be commissioned are Oakey, Hughenden, Hamilton, and Whitsunday in Queensland and Dubbo in New South Wales. The projects will have a cumulative capacity of 187 MW.
Looking at Queensland’s renewable energy target of 50% by 2030, it is unsurprising that the state has the biggest PV pipeline currently under development in Australia. Still, the fact that in 2018 Queensland will be adding more utility-scale PV to its grid than all other states combined is impressive.
Rystad is optimistic that another 1 GW of utility-scale solar PV will be commissioned before the year’s end. This includes three projects (Blackrock’s Daydream, Palisade’s Ross River, Bungala) that exceed the 100 MW capacity mark by greater margin.
Australia’s record-breaking year for utility scale is well-and-truly in full flight, with a very large volume of large scale solar about to take off.