The successful commissioning of the Normanton Solar Farm in the Gulf of Carpentaria has helped boost its reputation as a poster project for ‘fringe’ energy developments.
Normanton Solar Farm is unique in demonstrating the ability to connect to ‘fringe-of-grid’ locations in rural Australia, and provide real and measurable benefits to customers said developer, Scoulier Energy’s Doug Scoulier.
“The knowledge-sharing opportunities will further demonstrate the uniqueness of the project, Mr Scoulier said.
“Normanton Solar Farm will be used as a ‘test case’ of how renewable energy can benefit regional networks and the challenges in developing solar PV in remote, tropical regions of Australia,” he said.
“If proven to be technically and financially viable, these outcomes all represent a significant step forward in the commercial competitiveness of the uptake of integrated distributed renewable energy solutions in fringe-of-grid locations.”
The 5MW solar farm received $8.3 million grant funds from ARENA. Canadian Solar acted as EPC, with Scouller Energy as developer.
Canadian Solar’s General Manager Daniel Ruoss said the project would enable an assessment of the value of broader regulatory change to support future projects and the business case for using solar as an alternative to upgrading network infrastructure.
“This will drive the growth of renewable power generation across regional Australia, particularly in constrained, fringe of grid environments,” he said.
The Normanton Solar Farm used proven solar technology, including 16,000 x 310 Watt PV modules on fixed-tilt arrays, optimised for the Normanton latitude of 17 degrees.
Normanton typically receives a minimum of 6 hours of full sunshine each day, right through the year, allowing the solar farm to generate in excess of 9,000 MWh per year, expected to result in reduced CO2 emissions by 7,550 tonnes annually.