Gannawarra and Wemen solar farms now operating

Gannawarra
Managing director of WIRSOL Mark Hogan

Gannawarra Solar Farm is now operating at full capacity having successfully passed all commissioning tests approved by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

In addition to the 60MW Gannawarra Solar Farm in north-west Victoria, Wemen Solar Farm is now connected and generating power. With 110MW capacity, the two solar farms are contributing 170MW of renewable generation to the national grid.

WIRSOL Energy, the Australian arm of the WIRCON Group developed both farms, with Wemen Solar Farm being the company’s largest solar project to date.

RCR Tomlinson, the EPC Contractor responsible for constructing Wemen Solar Farm, achieved the first-generation milestone on schedule and will continue commissioning with the goal of achieving completion by year-end.

At 110MW DC, Wemen Solar Farm has approximately 319,000 modules installed across an area of close to 700 acres.

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The two projects combined will provide enough energy to power the equivalent of approximately 52,100 Victorian households with sustainable electricity, whilst preventing the emission of approximately 390,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The Victorian Government consciously committed to re-establishing the state as a front-runner in renewable energy, with targets of 25 per cent by 2020, 40 per cent by 2025 and 50 per cent by 2030 if re-elected.

Furthermore, Gannawarra Solar Farm’s retrofitted 25MW/50MWh Tesla powerpack battery, Gannawarra Energy Storage System (GESS), has reached its own project milestone, completing the construction phase ahead of schedule.

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GESS’s owners, WIRSOL and Edify Energy, have overcome regulatory and technical challenges to become the first battery storage system that has been retrofitted to an existing solar farm. The facility holds great significance and further demonstrates the great opportunity for integrating large-scale battery storage with solar projects.

Managing director of WIRSOL Mark Hogan says, “The overall project and how it has evolved is unique to the industry which in turn sets a benchmark for future projects, which enables the ability to optimise the delivery of energy at peak times supporting demand throughout the daily cycle.

“This also underwrites our own personal mission of deploying greater than one gigawatt of solar energy by the year ending 2020 in Australia.

“Maintaining the deployment of solar, coupled with storage where appropriate, is a cornerstone in attaining sustainable and affordable clean energy, which is evidently now within reach on a global scale, specifically within Australia.”