Australia’s first wind-solar farm hybrid receives funding to start construction.  

Australia: First Wind-Solar Farm Hybrid

Renewable energy accomplished an amazing feat in Australia. For the first time, the country will have its own wind and solar farm to be constructed near Canberra.

The farm anticipates 22,000 MWh in its initial year of electricity production. Through this large-scale hybrid farm, around 3,000 homes get the full benefits of the sun.

Farm gets grant from ARENA and banks

Two Chinese companies take ownership and construction of this 10MW solar photovoltaic plant. Goldwind and Beijing and Jingneng Clean Energy are also behind the existing Gullen Range wind farm in the area. The total cost of the building is $26 million.

For construction to begin, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) provided a grant of $9.9 million. The National Australia Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China will lend another $10 million for the project.  The rest of the amount will be shouldered by the existing wind farm.

Benefits of a wind-solar farm hybrid

ARENA’s decision to provide grant probably came after commissioning an investigation into the costs and benefits of hybrid solar and wind farms.

According to its chief executive, Ivor Frischknecht, building the solar farm in the same area as the wind farm is ideal. It translates to a huge twenty per cent savings on construction expenses. This is primarily due to two generators sharing the same grid connection.

In addition to cost benefits, the hybrid farm has another advantage. The energy sources are often complementary as they produce peak outputs at different times.  Solar generates during the day. On the other hand, the wind generates more at night.

They also perform differently as seasons change. Solar provides more energy during summer and wind during winter. The co-location assures continuous energy generation.

Frischknecht hoped that the first wind and solar farm hybrid will encourage others to follow. “This is the first project of its type in Australia, so the lessons learned will be invaluable,” he said. “It has the potential to provide a blueprint for future projects and cement industry confidence in the approach.”