ACT large-scale solar-plus-storage program receives 30 applications

The ACT government’s next generation solar program has been been swamped by 30 submissions representing 967MW of potential solar plus storage capacity in response to its call for expressions of interest.

ACT energy minister Simon Corbell said the huge response signified the potential opportunity for next generation solar in Australia.

The ACT government intends to commission around 50MW of capacity, in what will likely be the first large-scale solar plus storage project, or projects, in Australia.

But Corbell said the government was still yet to decide whether to implement an auction program, used to great success with its first 40MW of solar capacity and 200MW of wind capacity, or negotiate a feed-in tariff directly with participants.

The applications received included proposals for solar PV plus battery storage, solar PV combined with pumped hydro, and a range of solar thermal plus storage options.

“We have received a tremendous response, reflecting significant industry demand for new opportunities,” Corbell said in a statement. He later told RenewEconomy that the response was “better than expected.”

Corbell said the ACT wanted to underpin the widespread commercial development and deployment of next generation solar, while driving the development of the renewable energy industry in the Capital.

“We will now take time now to assess all of those and make decisions on how we proceed,” Corbell told RenewEconomy. This included the potential of direct negotiations with some proposals.

“We are simply keeping our options open. The legislation allows either approach,” he said. He expected his team to report back in a month, after which he will decide how to proceed.

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson