The rank of the “largest solar farm” in Australia keeps on changing due to accelerated uptake of solar Pv technology in the commercial and utility-scale level. This condition is the same globally as well. For example, the rank of world’s largest floating solar power plant was initially held by South Korea, then China. As of 2019, it belongs by the 500kW Banasuragar project in Kerala, India. Thus, in the PV industry, the term of being the “largest” is unsteady. From floating solar systems to battery integrated off-grid power stations, there are numerous areas where a newly commissioned PV power plant can claim its share of ranking. This is the case with the Gannawarra – largest solar and battery storage plant in Australia.
On Friday, the Gannawarra project in Kerang, Victoria became the largest solar and battery integrated plant in the country. It has 60MW of solar panels combined with 25MW battery storage. The plant was completed on Nov 2018. Then, seven months were spend on commissioning tests. The total funding of $34.27 million is borne by Victorian government and ARENA. The single axis tracking plant uses JA Solar modules, supported on ATI Dura Track, coupled with SMA 2500 SC-EV inverters and Tesla Powerpack. It covers an area of 327 acres, and can power upto 25,000 households (116,000 MWh per annum), and offset 137,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.
As of June 2019, this is the largest integrated solar and battery system in the country. It is also the first case where a battery is retrofitted to a solar PV array under construction. As per ARENA, the Gannawarra system also analyzes the feasibility of frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) and fast frequency response (FFR) in the electricity market.
In addition, these storage integrated projects highlight the changing economy of battery storage technology. Furthermore, it may not be farfetched to say that the combination of battery storage and solar pv can be pivotal in the final efforts to reach Australia’s renewable energy targets.