The new solar farm and battery storage will be co-located with the Sapphire Wind Farm on a 11-hectare site - approximately 30 kilometres east of Inverell - to create the Sapphire Renewable Energy Hub, a wind, solar and battery hybrid project.
CWP Head of Development Ed Mounsey said that this project will bring another wave of renewable energy investment to the New England region.
“Construction of the wind farm has created 150-200 jobs over an almost two year period. Construction of the solar and battery infrastructure will create a further 150-200 jobs and will extend the benefits for local businesses.
“The New England region is unique, in that there is a natural correlation between the generation profiles of wind and solar. Combining wind and solar together with battery storage will allow large-scale, dispatchable renewable energy to be exported from the region,” Mr Mounsey said.
Sapphire Solar Farm location (source: Sapphire Wind Farm)
The Sapphire Solar Farm and battery storage has an expected development cost of $220 million and the project will comprise of battery storage, solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, electrical transformers and inverters as well as other ancillary equipment.
Once completed, the solar farm and battery storage will be able to generate enough renewable energy to power up to 68,000 homes.
With works commencing in January 2017, the Sapphire Wind Farm is expected to be completed and operational in the coming months. On the other hand, construction on the solar farm and battery storage facility is expected to begin in early 2019 and will take 14 months to complete.
“The Sapphire Renewable Energy Hub will be the largest such project in the world. This is the future of energy generation in Australia, being constructed right now,” Mr Mounsey added.
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