Australia’s first utility-scale solar farm celebrates 10 years

Greenough River Solar Farm aerial shot (first utility-scale solar)
Greenough River Solar Farm

Greenough River Solar Farm, Australia’s first utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power project, has marked its 10th anniversary.

Since opening in October 2012, Greenough River Solar Farm has served as a model for utility-scale solar in Australia. A second stage was built in 2020, with the expanded solar farm now producing an estimated 98GWh per year to WA’s energy network, the South West Interconnected System (SWIS)—enough electricity to power the equivalent of almost 20,000 Australian households.

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Stage one of Greenough River Solar Farm was built with 150,000 First Solar Series 3 thin film PV panels. Stage two is comprised of a further 300,000 First Solar Series 4 panels and is built on a NEXTracker single axis tracking system.

NovaSource Power Services has been tasked with handling operations and maintenance at Greenough River Solar Farm, taking over for First Solar‘s in house O&M services branch and bringing it into our portfolio of projects.

NovaSource Power Services Australia country manager Daman Cole said Greenough River Solar Farm had been a great success story.

“Ensuring the health and performance of Greenough River Solar Farm has been an honour—it will forever be an important part of Australia’s energy history,” Cole said.

“We are excited to continue to service this engineering marvel and look forward to more renewable developments coming online to provide clean energy to Australia.”

Located in Walkaway, Western Australia, Greenough River Solar Farm is owned by Bright Energy Investments, a joint venture between Synergy, DIF Capital Partners and Construction Building Union Superannuation.

Bright Energy Investments general manager Tom Frood said he was proud of the solar farm’s performance during its lifetime and following expansion.

“Greenough River Solar Farm was a pioneering project when first developed by Synergy in 2012 and has been regularly recognised as one of the best performing in Australia since Bright Energy Investments’ stage two expansion in 2018,” Frood said.

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“Stage two’s ability to tilt its panels to track the sun throughout the day has significantly increased the output of the now-40MW solar farm to provide clean, affordable and sustainable energy for Western Australians.”

Notably, energy from the Greenough River Solar Farm stage one has been purchased by Water Corporation, WA’s principal supplier of water, wastewater and drainage services, to help offset the energy requirements of its Southern Seawater Desalination Plant.

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