The first big solar and big battery storage to be connected to the grid has started providing power to Far North Queensland homes and businesses.
On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided $17.4 million in funding for the Lakeland Solar and Storage project on the Cape York Peninsula, near Cooktown, 240 kilometres north-west of Cairns.
The $42.5 million grid-connected facility includes a 10.8 MW AC solar farm featuring over 40,000 solar panels alongside a 1.4 MW / 5.3MWh lithium-ion battery, which together are capable of supplying more than 3000 homes and businesses.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said Lakeland is Australia’s first utility scale colocated 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.
“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,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“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,” he said.
“Solar farms combined with storage are going to play a hugely important role in Australia’s electricity grid in the future,” he said.
Conergy Managing Director Christopher West said the company was excited to be delivering reliable, renewable power to FNQ.
“It’s great news for the people of Queensland, and it’s a milestone for Conergy as we bring this facility on line – 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.”