Solar Homes policy – NSW Solar grant

Solar Homes policy – the NSW Labor party have announced a huge solar rebate they will implement if they win the upcoming state election. Let’s learn more about how many households could be helped and what the particulars of the scheme are. 

Solar Homes policy

Michael Daley - Solar Homes Policy (source: michaeldaley.com.au)
Labor leader Michael Daley – announcing the Solar Homes Policy (source: michaeldaley.com.au)

The Solar Homes policy was announced by NSW Labor leader Michael Daley on his official website this week:

“This program will take NSW to over a million solar homes. Based on current take up rates for household solar, the program could help add solar to an additional 1 million homes over the next decade.” the website states. Further reading into the document shows that 500,000 households will benefit from the solar scheme. 

Under the Solar Homes policy, owner-occupied households in New South Wales are eligible for a rebate of up to $2,200, as long as their combined annual income is less than $180,000. 

Deputy Leader and Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said, “Under this plan, everyone wins. Families get help with their electricity bills and we are taking real action on climate change and giving NSW a cleaner, greener future.”

NSW Labor’s Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Adam Searle said, “Solar Homes is just one aspect of Labor’s plan for cheaper and cleaner energy across NSW. Our policies will cut both electricity bills and carbon emissions. We look forward to providing more in the lead up to the election.”

If Labor do win the state election (which will be held on March 23) and the Solar Homes policy goes ahead, it will commence in the 19-20 financial year (“to ensure an orderly rollout”), and follow other states with their own initiatives:

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Susan River solar farm opened by Elliott Green Power.

US Hedge Fund backed Elliott Green Power have successfully opened the Susan River solar farm. The 95MW farm adds to their current portfolio and is another great step in the right direction for solar farms in Australia and Esco Pacific.

Susan River solar farm

Construction on the Susan River solar farm commenced in mid-January last year and about 150 workers helped finish the farm, which occupies 176 hectares and has 350,000 solar panels. Construction was handled by Esco Pacific, who have plenty of experience in the field, being responsible for projects such as the Finley Solar Farm.

Esco chief executive Steve Rademaker said the project has created five to ten full-time jobs post-construction.

“Choosing a location came down to the suitable size identification and proximity to the electrical grid, among other factors,” Mr Rademaker said.

“The Fraser Coast ticked all these boxes. It’s a good location to build a project like this.”

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham attended the opening of the Susan River solar farm and didn’t miss the opportunity to play politics:

“Elliot Green Power’s $175 million investment is another demonstration of industry’s confidence in the sector and further evidence that consistent energy policy from this Palaszczuk government drives generation investment,” Lynham said in a statement.

“That’s in stark contrast to what the Morrison government’s policies are doing to investment in new generation.”

RenewEconomy are reporting that another of Elliot Green Power’s farms is almost complete (Teebar Solar Farm), and a third (North Aramara Solar Farm) which will be finished later this year.

They also report that Elliot Green Power’s Childers Solar Farm and Susan Rivers Solar Farm were the two first farms to sign up for a ‘proxy revenue swap’. This is a hedging product Nephila Holdings Ltd provided, which protects both farms from varations in output (click here to read more) 

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Moyhall Solar Farm built by Terregra in SA.

Indonesia’s Terregra Renewables is set to construct a second solar farm in South Australia – with the Moyhall Solar Farm to commence construction in March for an August 2019 completion date.

Terregra and the Moyhall Solar Farm

Indonesian renewable company Terregra are set to construct a second solar farm in South Australia – with the Moyhall Solar Farm set to join the previously announced Mobilong solar farm as Terregra’s second Australian solar project. 

According to their official website, Terregra Renewables are hoping to have 300MW of operating renewable power by 2023. They work on delivering off grid solar power to Indonesia’s remote arreas, and they are also create energy on a utility scale for urban/industrial areas. 

“The Moyhall Solar Farm is another addition to Terregra’s growing pipeline of solar projects,” Graham Pearson, Director of Terregra Renewables, told PV Magazine Australia.

The 5MW Moyhall Solar Farm will include 16,000 PV modules and two inverters, installed inside containers. According to PV Magazine, the $16m Terregra has invested in South Australian solar will create approximately 80 jobs during the constructions of the Moyhall Solar Farm and the Mobilong Solar Farm. These ‘smaller’ type utility-scale investments are often very interesting for investors so Terregra shouldn’t have much trouble finding interest in the solar farms. The Mobilong Solar Farm has appointed Balance Utility Solutions to carry out EPC work on the farm, according to PV Magazine

“Balance is delighted to be working with Terregra Renewables on the delivery of their first solar project in Australia,” said Rod Hayes, Managing Director of Balance Utility Solutions.

“We expect this approach of close developer and EPC early collaboration, and a focus on portfolios of smaller scale projects, to be a growing trend through the next few years as the utility scale solar market continues to mature.”

SA Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan discussed the impact Terregra’s investment will have on the community:

“Terregra Renewables’ $7.6 million investment will increase South Australia’s energy supply, stimulate the local economy and create local jobs,” said Minister van Holst Pellekaan.

You can learn more about Terregra Asia Energy by viewing their company profile below.

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Tesla in Townsville – Bohle Plains’ 4MW solar battery.

Tesla in Townsville – Solar giant Tesla will install a 4MW/8MWh solar battery in Townsville, North Queensland to help manage renewable energy within the community. The battery is expected to be operational by the end of 2019.

Tesla in Townsville – Bohle Plains’ 4MW solar battery.

A community-scale battery will be installed in Townsville to help store excess energy, provide backup power to the community, and assist in providing support to Ergon’s virtual power plant, which draws electricity or reduces load from customers Queensland wide. This helps shore up any supply issues to the National Energy Market (NEM), especially during peak times such as during a heatwave.

Publicly owned Yurika manage the plant and it’ll be fascinating to see some statistics as to how this Tesla Powerpack helps QLD – with the South Australian Tesla Battery at the Hornsdale Power Reserve saving $25m in its first year of operation, we expect the result to be similarly impressive. 

Tesla in Townsville (Powerpack) (source: Tesla.com)
Tesla in Townsville (Powerpack) (source: Tesla.com)

“This is a small but significant addition to Queensland’s publicly-owned electricity system, a system which is delivering cheaper prices on average compared to other mainland states in the National Energy Market,” said Acting Energy Minister Mark Furner.

“Battery storage technology is the next stage in steady progress to enabling a renewable energy future and reaching our target of 50% renewable energy by 2030.”

“With around 20,000 residential rooftop solar systems in Townsville, battery storage technology will help ensure power quality and reliability in the local network.” he continued in quotes repeated in Clean Technica

Design work has already started on the battery and Tesla in Townsville is closer than you may think – the battery is scheduled to be fully operational in late 2019. Given that Townsville and its surrounding areas have seen a significant amount of investment in solar over the past few years, it’s going to be fantastic to have this battery to help stabilise the grid and provide cheaper power.

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Kondinin project (wind/solar/battery) approved in WA

Renewable energy developer Lacour Energy has been given the green light for its hyrid West Australia based $250m Kondinin project. Let’s take a look!

Kondinin project

Kondinin Project Location Site (source: http://www.kondininwindandsolar.com.au/)
Kondinin Project Location Site (source: http://www.kondininwindandsolar.com.au/)

The Kondinin project will have 120MW of wind energy, 50MW of PV solar and also battery storage (specifics not yet released). The hybrid system will mean that the grid connection costs can be shared between the wind and solar farm. 

“The Kondinin project location ticks all the boxes to be one of the lowest cost projects in Western Australia,” Lacour director Mark Rayner said.

“There is a strong wind resource located on the Western Power network with plenty of ability to connect the project via an existing substation.”

Mr. Rayner was also quoted in Renews.Biz discussing the future of the project, which could undergo some alterations over the coming year as planning and cost benefit analyses continue:

“Wind is likely to be 120MW, solar 50MW. All of the different components of the project are independent, however, and it may be that the wind farm proceeds alone without the solar or battery or vice versa depending on the outcome of the final feasibility work,” Rayner said.

Chinese wind power specialist Goldwind will supply up to 46 of their wind turbines and also manage the construction of the project, which is expected to run from 18-24 months. 

Goldwind managing director John Titchen was quoted in Renew Economy discussing the project and its impact on Western Power network connectivity:

‘A number of new wind farms are expected to be built in Western Australia over coming years as a result of the progressive reforms of the Western Australian Government and the Western Power Interim Access solution currently being rolled out.”

Construction on the farm is expected to commence at the end of the year and will create around 400 solar jobs for Western Australian Solar. Please click here to view the official website of the project. 

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