German energy company innogy has started the construction of 349MW Limondale solar plant in Australia.
The new solar plant of innogy is located near Balranald, New South Wales.
innogy’s subsidiary BELECTRIC has secured the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, along with providing operation and maintenance (O&M) services for the project. BELECTRIC is claimed to have experience in the solar market with nearly 2GW of projects executed globally.
innogy Renewables chief operating officer Hans Bünting said: “It makes me proud that we can now start with the construction of our first utility-scale PV plant in Australia, one of the continents with the highest solar irradiation per square meter.
“To expand renewable energies it is of vital importance that beside the excellent yield the country is supportive for increasing the share of renewable energies.”
Currently, preparation works and pre-pilling tests are being done for the solar project and the construction work is expected to begin next month. Commissioning of the plant is expected to take place gradually and full commercial operations will are expected in mid-2020.
In addition to this project, innogy had also signed a contract to acquire project rights of 115MW solar project Hillston, early this year. The transfer of the project company is expected to take place by the end of this year.
The two solar projects were developed by Overland Sun Farming, one of the solar leading Australian development companies.
innogy stated that it will be investing more than €400m ($468.3m) for the two projects. It will also review all its options about the future ownership and financing structure of the projects to maximize value for its shareholders.
With the two projects, innogy has expanded into the Australian market, setting a a subsidiary innogy Renewables Australia. The subsidiary is currently exploring further renewable opportunities including solar, battery storage, offshore and onshore wind in the local market.
innogy Renewables Australia CEO Thorsten Blanke said: “Electricity prices in Australia have risen strongly over the past decade and are among the highest in the world. An expansion of renewable energies can contribute towards reducing the energy costs for customers. Especially wind and solar are cost-effective alternatives in a country with excellent natural renewable resources.”