Australia combines wind and solar to produce more reliable energy
A 10 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant will be built adjacent to the existing Gullen Range Wind Farm, laying the groundwork for more solar plants to be built alongside wind farms and helping large-scale solar costs to fall faster.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing $9.9 million support for New Gullen Range Wind Farm Pty Ltd (NGRWF) to develop and construct the $26 million project.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said solar and wind were complementary sources of renewable energy that produced power at different times of the day and year.
“Co-location provides more continuous energy generation, as wind farms tend to generate more energy overnight whilst solar only generates during the day. Gullen Wind Farm generates more power in winter and the new solar farm will generate more in summer,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“Wind farm owners across Australia could benefit from adding solar plants to their existing sites. Developers can save money on grid connection, approvals and site development costs by co-locating wind and solar plants, whilst also reducing environmental impacts.
“NGRWF estimates that the potential co-location savings for the Gullen Range Solar Farm could be as high as $6 million, representing a 20 per cent drop in total project cost.
“There is huge potential to adopt this approach at other wind farms. An ARENA-supported study found there’s an estimated 1000 MW of potential opportunities to add solar PV alongside existing wind farms – enough to power 700,000 homes." ■