Western Downs Green Power Hub, Australia’s biggest solar farm

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The construction of the 400MW Western Downs Green Power Hub in Australia, the country’s biggest solar farm has been completed. With a total of over 1 million solar panels, the facility is built on a 1500-hectare piece of land near Chinchilla in the Western Downs region of Queensland.

This location is approximately 300 km northeast of Brisbane. It was chosen due to its flat topography and sunny weather. Furthermore, the choice of the location was favored by its close proximity to Powerlink’s existing Western Downs substation. The latter will connect via a new 275kV line ensuring the energy can rapidly be exported into the grid.

The Western Downs Green Power Hub has a long-term contract to deliver 80% of its output to the government-owned power company CleanCo. The latter in turn will sell the product to customers such as BHP, Westfield, and Coles. Noteworthy, the facility which will also feature 200MW/400MWh big battery has the capacity to power up to 235,000 households in Queensland.

Reported earlier

May 2020

SWSL receives contract for Western Downs Green Power Hub in Australia

Sterling and Wilson Solar, an India-based renewable contracting giant have made its second big move in the Australian Solar market, after winning the contracts for construction through to operation and maintenance of what is believed to be the Neoen Western Downs project.

Sterling and Wilson Solar Limited (SWSL) announced recently that it had signed an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction contract worth around US$344.2 million, as well a 20-year, roughly US$56 million Operation and Maintenance (O&M) contract for a new solar project in Australia.

The press release did not name the project behind the contracts, but sources in the industry suggest a contract of that scale could be none other than the Neoen Western Downs project, Australia’s nation-leading 400MW solar project located in Queensland’s Western Downs, which is set for to begin construction in July after inking an off-take deal with CleanCo., the state’s renewable gen-tailer.

The deal – announced by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the May 06 Stimulus Summit co-hosted by the Smart Energy Council and RenewEconomy – will have CleanCo buy 320MW of the output of the Western Downs Green Power Hub, which could possibly also include a 150MW battery down the track.

Also Read: Australia to Construct the World’s first hydrogen production facility.

Sterling and Wilson Solar in Australia 

For the Mumbai-based SWSL, the contracts announced this week mark its largest job yet in Australia and will take the company’s Australian order book to around US$656 billion. Reward no doubt, for what it described in an earlier results briefing as “initial hiccups” in its opening market forays.

Sterling and Wilson Solar’s first job in the country began at the end of 2019, when they constructed a 200MW Wellington solar farm in New South Wales, on behalf of Lightsource BP. With the new contract, SWSL stated this week that it had “clearly established its presence in Australia,” and placed itself among the largest solar EPCs in what was a “very promising” market.

“This is our largest order in Australia and is a culmination of efforts to break new ground in countries like Australia, the United States, and South America, where our company has invested in a very strong team that is completely aligned with the local requirements,” said SWSL CEO Bikesh Ogra.

SWSL also mentioned in the statement that it believed the worst of the Covid-19 impacts on the industry “seemed to have passed.” The company lastly stated that it expected a fair portion of its international revenues for the current financial year to come from Australia, South America, and the US, where solar project construction had commenced to full capacity.