Bifacial solar panels for commercial solar.

Vicinity Centres, who will provide 31MW of clean energy to 22 shopping centres and their retailers by the end of the year, is trialling bifacial solar panels to see how that will affect their choices for stage 3 of Vicinity’s solar program.

Bifacial solar panels for commercial solar.

According to an article in PV Magazine, the first bifacial panels were installed at Kurralta Central Shopping Centre to get a better yield from their available roof space. Initial tests showed 6-8% to 16-18% increased output (they tried a bunch of different locations and coatings on the roof to maximise output). 

 “It’s early days,” said Renae Sambrooks, General Manager of Energy and Commercial Management for Vicinity, “but results from Kurralta made us feel confident enough to install bifacials in three more centres.

“Over the next few months results of those trials will help us make decisions around our Stage 3 solar program,” she said in comments quoted in PV Magazine.

We’ve reported fairly comprehensively about Vicinity Centres and solar investment in the past – we’re also taken a look at the Stockland shopping centres and their commercial solar investment.

“As of today,” Sambrooks said, “we’ve produced 2.5MWh of clean energy from 13MW of installed capacity and we’re in the process of constructing the next 18 MW, which will be completed by the end of 2019.”

There are a few other bifacial solar panels available:

An article in Green Tech Media notes that the bifacial PERC modules can boost performance by a staggering 27%. 

The Bifacial Solar Panels at Kurralta are one of the first steps Vicinity Centres are making to end up with their 31MW of renewable energy output – Sambrooks discussed the long term goal:

“Our vision was to create intelligent energy destinations. We’re not just whacking solar panels on roofs. It’s a long-term investment and we’re always thinking how we can sweat the solar installations and all our other energy initiatives to make a return.”

Still very early days, so we’ll keep you updated how they go with the testing and what Vicinity decide to do with regards to commercial solar panels.

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Beryl Solar Farm Sold To New Energy Solar

We’ve written about the Beryl Solar Farm reaching a financial close back in May – now the 87MW (108MW according to the AFR) project has a new owner and is continuing construction. 

Beryl Solar Farm Sold To New Energy Solar

Beryl Solar Farm Sold to New Energy Solar
Beryl Solar Farm Sold to New Energy Solar (source: FirstSolar.com.au)

According to PV Magazine, the farm has been purchased by New Energy Solar – who also bought the 50MW Manildra Solar Farm for $113m last month. Both farms were previously owned by First Solar and the Beryl farm will be using their 420W large-format Series 6 thin film PV modules. Beryl also comes with a 15 year PPA with Transport for NSW – who will purchase 134,000 MWh from Beryl Solar Farm each year – using the power for the Sydney Metro Northwest railway. This long PPA with a AAA rated customer (i.e. the government) makes the farm a great buy in its current shape.

The EPC project was estimated at $150m according to Reuters, but it’s now estimated at $187m. Downer Utilities started work on the project in May and hope to have it finished in mid 2019. The farm will produce enough energy to power 25,000 households and doesn’t require any water for its electricity generation.

New Energy Solar said the cost of the farm won’t be announced but it was pegged to a target for five-year annual average gross yield of 8.2%, in comparison with yield on its existing portfolio of about 6.8% p.a, so by those metrics it looks like a canny purchase. 

New Energy Solar’s CEO, John Martin, discussed how the extra-long 15 year PPA helped get the sale of this project over the line:

“Beryl, New’s second investment in Australia, will further enhance the scale and contracted cashflows of our Australian portfolio,” said Martin. “Following the Manildra acquisition last month, we are delighted to be consolidating our relationship with First Solar through this second sizeable transaction in the Australian market.”

Martin continued to say that ~69% of the energy provided by the Beryl project will go to Transport for NSW – with the rest slated to package up with a 20MWh battery and sold to a corporate customer as commercial solar

To learn more about the project from the First Solar website please click here

If you’re interested in solar employment and working at the Beryl Solar Farm, please click here to visit the Downer Group’s careers website.

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