The first batch of solar panels have been switched on at the 42.5MW Collinsville Solar PV Project in Queensland.
Ahead of the $100 million project achieving full commercial operation in September, the panels have been switched on as part of a staged testing and commissioning process being conducted by project developers Ratch Australia Corporation.
Ratch EGM Business Development, Mr Anthony Yeates, said the testing announced the “electrification” of the Collinsville project, which is located next to the decommissioned Collinsville coal-fired power station.
It follows the installation of 164,000 PV solar panels and more than 550km of cabling; the completion of the site’s control room and meteorological station; and the refurbishment of the site’s substation, which is now energised and will connect the project’s power to the national electricity grid.
“First generation is a meaningful milestone as we’re now generating and exporting electricity to the grid,” Mr Yeates said.
“We’ll be ramping up the amount of generation as the project reaches completion point next month,” Mr Yeates said.
“The project showcases how old coal-fired generation sites can be repurposed as new renewable energy bases, benefiting from existing infrastructure, while helping to transform Australia’s energy mix.”
It has taken more than a year to transform the 80ha site, using mostly local businesses.
“All eight major contracts listed on the Industry Capability Network were awarded to suppliers in the North Queensland region which is well known for the depth of industrial capabilities and skills,” he said.
“The project’s success has a lot to do with all the hard work invested by local contractors and suppliers, many of whom have been with us from the start,” he said.
The solar farm will deliver 130,000MWh of renewable energy, which is predicted to meet the annual needs of approximately 15,000 Whitsunday homes during a 20-year period.
Ratch owns and operates several renewable energy projects in Australia including the 180MW Mount Emerald Wind Farm near Mareeba, which is due for completion in November.