With the amount of sunlight available in Australia, it really seems like the perfect spot for solar energy. And now it’s about to unveil the biggest solar energy farm in the world.
It’s called the Riverland Project and it’s scheduled to start operations by the end of the year, with several million solar panels and over a million batteries.
All told, the complex will cost about a billion dollars to build. But this isn’t a government facility; Riverland is on private land near Adelaide, and was paid for by private investors through the Lyon Group, which is spearheading the project.
It’s the second recent solar development from Lyon Group, which was also behind the Kingfisher Project at Roxby Downs. According to David Green of Lyon Group, “if the 4.7 million solar panels at Riverland and Kingfisher were placed end to end, they would reach from Adelaide to Brisbane and back, and then all the way to Melbourne.”
Now that’s a lot of solar panels.
This will be the world’s biggest solar farm in terms of output, although not in terms of actual size — that title is still held by a solar plant in India that covers about ten square kilometers of land.
That said, it doesn’t have anything like the output of the new Australian contender. And it’s in that sense that this will be the world’s biggest. And really, if we’re talking energy, isn’t output the most important thing?
The electricity generated by Riverland will be available on the National Energy Market, which is Australia’s wholesale electricity market. The facility will use a combination of solar energy and battery storage, which Lyon Group says will help the facility to avoid the costs of grid upgrades.
Although South Australia leads the nation in the renewable energy sector, there have been some criticisms after a statewide blackout in September of last year. But building more energy sources surely can’t make the grid less dependable. And according to Lyon Group, the facility will also create about 300 new jobs once it’s operational.
It’s definitely impressive. And projects like these will go a long way to making Australia’s power grid one of the world’s most environmentally friendly. Given the amount of sunlight we get, it just makes sense.