Port Augusta has officially began it’s transformation from a former coal city into a major renewable hub as the Bungala Solar project reaches an important milestone.
The first 45 MW feeder of the 137 MW Bungala Solar One photovoltaic (PV) plant has just connected to the Australian gird, releasing energy for the very first time.
Solar One is part of the 275 MW Bungala Solar PV Project, which will be able to produce 570 GWh per year once operational in early 2019.
Originally commissioned by Solar Reach, the first two stages of Bungala are owned by Italian energy giant Enel Green Power and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund.
“We have just reached a historic landmark for our Group in an entirely new continent, as this is the first renewable energy flowing into the Australian grid from Enel,” Head of Enel Green Power Antonio Cammisecra said.
“We are just a few months away from the completion of this solar plant and look forward to other opportunities this renewable-resource-rich country will have to offer.”
The facility, which will cover an area of approximately 600 hectares, will consist of about 800,000 polycrystalline PV modules mounted on single-axis tracker structures.
The structures will follow the sun's path from east to west, increasing the amount of energy produced by the plant compared to PV modules with fixed structures.
South Australia’s former Labor government’s target of 75 per cent renewable energy by 2025 is well on track with 45 per cent of energy already supplied through renewable sources.
It is estimated the target could be reached as early as 2021 given the number of new projects currently being built.
Despite the election of Steven Marshall government keen to abolish the renewable energy target, Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan has enthusiastically welcomed the first output from Bungala.
“All new renewable generation must include grid scale storage so the electricity is generated when it’s sunny or windy, stored and then available for dispatch when consumers want it,” the Minister said.
“As we move to more renewable energy, we must also ensure we get the overall generation mix right and that will include wind, solar, gas and storage.
“Solar thermal is a perfect example of renewable energy with storage which protects consumers from the variability of sun and wind.”