Australia’s first grid-connected, utility-scale solar and battery facility has been connected to the electricity grid in Far North Queensland.
The $42.5 million Lakeland Solar and Storage project, on the Cape York Peninsula, near Cooktown, includes a 10.8MW AC solar farm featuring more than 40,000 solar panels alongside a 1.4MW / 5.3MWh lithium-ion battery.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided $17.4 million in funding for the project.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said Lakeland is Australia’s first utility-scale co-located solar and battery project to be connected to the grid.
“The ambitious project by Conergy has helped to show the importance of combining storage technologies with large scale solar,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“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.
“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.
“Solar farms combined with storage are going to play a hugely important role in Australia’s electricity grid in the future.”
Conergy managing director Christopher West said the company was excited to be delivering reliable, renewable power to Far North Queensland.
“It’s great news for the people of Queensland, and it’s a milestone for Conergy as we bring this facility online – the first solar and storage project of its scale connected to the grid in Australia,” Mr West said.
“The region is abundant in solar resource, so it’s an ideal place to deliver solar projects like Lakeland.”
The project will provide reliable power to more than 3000 households living on the grid’s fringe in Cape York.
Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the government was committed to delivering affordable and reliable power for all Australians.
“For the people of Lakeland, who live on the fringe of the electricity grid where transmission is generally less reliable, this project helps ensure the lights stay on, even when the sun isn’t shining,” Minister Frydenberg said.
“Combining solar generation and battery storage means energy generated throughout the day can be captured and stored for use when it’s needed overnight or during peak usage times.
“The overall reliance of the community on the grid is reduced and smart controller software manages energy intermittency to create reliable power generation.
“The project will serve as a great example for other regional communities on the fringe of the electricity grid.”