Australia’s largest solar project taps Nextracker for bifacial solar tracking

Australia’s largest solar project taps Nextracker for bifacial solar tracking

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Nextracker chosen to supply tracking technology for country’s biggest solar project, predicting an additional 1-2% of generation, or around 15GWh a year.

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The Western Downs Green Power Hub, set to be Australia’s largest solar farm, will utilise California-based Nextracker’s NX Horizon optimised bifacial solar trackers.

Nextracker announced this week that it had been selected to supply its NX Horizon solar trackers for the 460MW-peak (400MW AC) Western Downs Green Power Hub, which could be co-located with up to 150MW of battery storage, and will be the largest solar farm in the country.

French independent power producer Neoen and the project’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor Sterling and Wilson chose Nextracker’s solar trackers partly due to their ability to provide increased energy yield gains.

Nextracker points to an additional yield of 1 to 2 per cent for its bifacial gain over competitive trackers, translating to over 15 gigawatt-hours per annum, or enough to power an additional 3,000 homes. This comes in addition to the yield already modeled for the 460MW farm – which will generate enough electricity to power 235,000 Queensland homes.

“We’re honored to be chosen by leading global companies, Neoen and Sterling and Wilson for this project,” said Peter Wheale, managing director at Nextracker Australia & Oceania.

“This milestone power plant builds upon Nextracker’s existing portfolio of four gigawatts in Australia. We have led the market by passionately delivering more customer value with best-in-class yield generation, client support and asset management technologies.”

Installation of the NX Horizon solar trackers is expected to begin some time in 2021, with construction having started in July this year after Neoen Australia signed a 320MW Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Queensland Government-owned renewable energy generator, CleanCo, back in May.

The PPA goes a long way to securing CleanCo’s target of acquiring 1GW of newly installed renewable energy by 2025, and Queensland’s broader target of securing 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.

The relationship between Neoen and CleanCo was further bolstered Tuesday after the two signed another PPA, this time for 110MW from the planned 157MW wind farm at the Kaban Green Power Hub in Cairns, to be built by Neoen.

“We are delighted to be working with CleanCo and Powerlink on our second Queensland project together,” Neoen’s Australian CEO Louis de Sambucy said in a statement.

Neoen was also contracted in September to supply 100MW to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) from the first stage of the massive Goyder Renewables Zone in South Australia, along with a 50MW battery in the ACT.

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