Normanton Solar Farm, Australia
Developer Doug Scouller, who is partnering with Canadian Solar for the 5 MW Solar PV Power Station in Normanton, said rising electricity costs were the main driver behind the project.
“I can see a need for reducing power losses. Increasing power production doesn’t reduce losses but I can see a need for decreasing generation of power because the network suffers so many losses.”
The Normanton Solar Farm is based at Lilyvale, a degraded ex-grazing property 5 km south of Normanton in Queensland’s Gulf Savannah region. It is a very remote, tropical location, experiencing monsoonal floods, cyclones, electrical storms and regular high temperature events, with a population of 2,200. The local council of Carpentaria Shire is very supportive of this project, as it will provide local employment, utilise currently unproductive land, and reinforce the Gulf Savannah’s ‘clean, green’ brand associated with wild-caught fisheries and grass-fed cattle industry.
Construction of the Normanton Solar Farm commenced May 2016. The system was ground-mounted with fixed tilt angle and used around 16,000 Canadian Solar Max Power CS6X-P PV panels. The Normanton Solar Farm partners Canadian Solar Australia and Scouller Energy utilised proven solar technology and efficient construction practices, while delivering around 9,200 MWh per year. The project will connect directly to the Ergon Energy Normanton Substation, located close to the solar farm site, via a dedicated 22 kV feeder.
“The sun is always shining in Normanton. We can’t fix the issue of power losses on our own but if we look at other locations and are successful it will put a bit dent in the losses.“
This project will demonstrate to key stakeholders such as State Governments and energy distributors, that there are meaningful technical and financial benefits of positioning distributed generation on an appropriate, moderate scale at the far end of the sub transmission (66 kV) network. Successful application of this concept has the potential to catalyse a new wave of renewable energy investment in other fringe-of-grid locations, and will also provide valuable learnings for solar applications in remote, tropical locations.