Risen Energy (Australia) is in the process of developing the 132 MWdc Merredin Solar Farm approximately 260km east of Perth in Western Australia’s Central Wheatbelt region. Merredin Solar Farm is the largest solar farm committed to construction in Western Australia and once connected will have an expected output of 281GWh of electricity annually, generating enough energy to power approximately 42,000 Western Australian homes.
The Merredin Solar Farm will be located on 462ha of former farming and grazing country. The site is adjacent to the Western Power Merredin Terminal Substation and will connect to the substation at 220kV.
An 82MW diesel fired turbine power station and distribution substation are also located adjacent to the Merredin Terminal Substation on Robartson Road.
The solar farm will consist of approximately 360,000 Risen Energy panels mounted on a single axis tracking system. 22 Inverter stations will convert the power from the solar panels to alternating current (AC) before entering an onsite substation. A transformer within this substation will then increase the voltage for injection to the Merredin Terminal Substation.
The Merredin Solar Farm will generate and deliver clean, renewable electricity into the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) and in doing so make a major contribution to Western Australia’s greenhouse gas reductions.
As owners of the Merredin Solar Farm, Risen Energy (Australia) will progress the project from detailed engineering design, through construction, commissioning and ultimately the operation of the solar farm.
Full construction of the solar installation will start in Q1 2019 and will continue through to mid-late 2019. Risen Energy anticipates that the Merredin Solar Farm will be commissioned and commence power sales by the end of Q4 2019. Risen Energy will use its global engineering, procurement and construction experience to support the Merredin Solar Farm. In addition, Risen Energy intends to supply the latest photovoltaic panel technology and integrated battery storage to enable it to supply power to the grid during periods of peak demand.
Risen Energy is in the process of appointing Shanghai Electric Power Design Institute Co., Ltd (SEPD), a subsidiary of Shanghai Electric, as its principal contractor for the development and construction of the Merredin Solar Farm.
The owners of Merredin Solar Farm have worked closely with the local government to deliver the Merredin Solar Farm Project. This has included focusing on planning approvals at local, regional and state levels. Continued involvement with the State will include sourcing operational works permits from the local council for the installation and the upgrading of roads potentially impacted by the development.
Management of the Merredin Solar Farm has worked closely with Western Australian State Government owned Western Power, to determine the most appropriate connection to the local electricity grid. This connection will be into the existing high voltage Merredin Terminal Substation, which ultimately feeds into the SWIS.
The Merredin Solar Farm will support the Western Australian Government’s transition to a green energy future.
Risen Energy recognises the importance of contributing to the Western Australian economy and will be endeavouring to ensure that its contractors use local resources where practicable during construction of the Merredin Solar Farm. It is anticipated that around 200 positions will be created during the construction of the Merredin Solar Farm. The workforce on site at any one time will vary as the project cycles through the different construction phases (civil works, foundations, assembly, electrical assembly, cabling, commissioning). Depending on the stage of the project, the labour force may vary between 20 to 150 people.
Once operational, the Merredin Solar Farm will require 3 to 5 full-time workers to maintain the installation. When operational, the Merredin Solar Farm is anticipated to be able to supply power to homes, businesses and industries in the Wheatbelt region and the South West. The completed facility will have an operating life of 30 years. At the end of the facility’s useful operating life, all physical infrastructure will be removed, and the land returned to its former agricultural use.