The Northam Solar Power Station is a proposed 10MW station consisting of 34,000 solar panels to be constructed on 25 Hectares of strategically located land 100km east of Perth. The station will deliver approximately 24,000 MWh of electricity per annum or enough to power over 4,000 households for 25 years.
This will be the first large scale solar project to be delivered as part of the joint venture between Carnegie’s wholly owned subsidiary Energy Made Clean and leading property and infrastructure company Lendlease, and is expected to commence operation by the end of 2017. The EMC Lendlease joint venture, signed in December 2016, will deliver large scale solar power and battery storage plants throughout Australia.
Carnegie has been developing the 100% privately funded project to date and will own and operate the solar power station for at least the next 25 years. Carnegie will continue to pursue the Build Own Operate business model through the investment and operation of the solar farm and will sell the power under contract through a power purchase agreement or on a merchant basis into the electricity market.
Artists representation of the proposed Northam solar array
The single axis tracking design will consist of approximately 34,000 solar panels and will produce approximately 24,000 MWh of electricity per annum when it is needed most, during the day, and deliver this clean energy into the Western Australian grid. The system has also been designed to be battery storage ready. Enabling energy storage for the future will allow for a more reliable, consistent supply of renewable energy as the costs of energy storage continue to decline over the coming years.
This project presents a fantastic opportunity for local investment and employment, particularly for the community of Northam. Carnegie aims to use local capability where possible, with an expected 40 job opportunities through the construction phase. The land has also been secured from a local landholder and will provide an alternative revenue stream from the agricultural land. The energy will effectively power 3,800 households and displace 17,000 tonnes per year of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 3,500 cars off the road.
The project is expected to cost between $15 and $20 million. Carnegie is currently in discussions with third party providers of both equity and debt and has a range of funding options to take the project through to completion, including shared ownership models. Carnegie has the option to sell energy in the Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM), or to deliver Large Scale Generation Certificates (LGC) to third party customers through either direct Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) or their own energy retail license or some combination of both.
The project is well advanced with design, costings, land surveys, solar radiation studies and power output analysis already conducted. Carnegie is also engaged in consultation with key stakeholders, including Shire of Northam, adjacent landowners, and the community. The Project is subject to council planning approval and network connection approval from Western Power.
Construction for the project is expected to start in mid-2017 with project commissioning expected by the end of 2017.
Proposed site for the Northam solar power station