Australia’s first grid-connected, utility-scale solar and battery facility has started feeding electricity into the network in far North Queensland.
Conergy has ‘flicked the switch’ on its $42.5 million Lakeland Solar and Storage project near Cooktown and announced plans for a second stage for the project, with approval from Cook Shire Council.
Construction is due to start in September and be complete early next year.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided $17.4 million in funding for stage one, which includes a 10.8 MW AC solar farm featuring more than 40,000 solar panels alongside a 1.4 MW / 5.3MWh lithium-ion battery.
ARENA chief executive officer Ivor Frischknecht said Lakeland was Australia’s first utility scale co-located solar and battery project to be connected to the grid.
“Lakeland is a demonstration for how integrated solar and batteries can together deliver dispatchable supply feeding electricity into the grid when it is needed, whether or not the sun is available at that moment,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“It will also be a test case for deliberate ‘islanding’, where a section of the grid continues to provide power while disconnected from the main grid. This capability will increase the reliability of local supply and pave the way for other fringe of the grid locations.”
Conergy managing director Christopher West said the region was abundant in solar resource, so it was an ideal place to deliver solar projects like Lakeland and now Lakeland II.
“Once completed, Lakeland and Lakeland II will provide 30MW of local solar generation, with storage,” he said.
“Imagine powering up approximately 4,015 average home air-conditioning units and running them all at the same time for eight hours through the heat of the day.
“That’s the combined production output capacity of Lakeland I and II. And better still, the energy is cleaner and more reliable for the people of far north Queensland.”