‘Genie is out of the bottle’ for large-scale solar & storage projects

Australia could host some of the world’s biggest solar and battery storage projects, after local infrastructure investor Lyon Group revealed plans to develop a pipeline of more than 300MW of solar and up to 60MW of battery storage.

The first new project is planned for South Australia, with a 100MW solar PV plant to be combined with a battery storage array of up to 40MW.

Lyon Group’s David Green says the plant could be in operation near Roxby Downs by early 2018, and there are plans for other similar projects around the country.

The first stage of what is known as the Kingfisher project – 20MW of solar PV plus a minimum 2MW battery storage – is expected to be running late next year.

The project is one of the finalists in the Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding round for large-scale solar, which is expected to allocate monies to 10 or more projects when decisions are announced next month.

Green says his company – which has previously invested in coal, gas and wind projects, but is now specialising in solar and storage – is looking to be a global industry leader in solar plus storage.

“The genie is out of the bottle. There will be a burst of activity now in large scale solar + battery projects. This is the real battery storage story coming out of Australia – batteries used to convert large scale solar to effectively baseload, or peaking plant.

“Our pipeline initially focuses on regional, high energy use areas on the fringe of the electricity grid but is rapidly expanding into other areas,” he said.

“The economics of the projects is enhanced as the combination of large scale battery with the solar plant allows for higher value capture from shifting power output from the solar plant to higher price periods in the market.

“There is a lot of negative comment about renewables connected to the grid. What we are looking to do with these projects is to demonstrate that some of those comments being made are not valid. We want to demonstrate that those perceived risks are not risks. They are readily mitigated and should be an impediment to deployment at all.”

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson