BELECTRIC was engaged as the service provider for the 349MW Limondale solar farm. Image courtesy of Belectric.
To be located 14km south of Balranald, Australia, the Limondale solar farm will be spread over 900ha farmland area. Image courtesy of Sunpower.
The solar farm will feature 872,000 SunPower (P-Series) solar panels. Image courtesy of Sunpower.

Limondale solar farm is a 349MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant being developed near Balranald in New South Wales, Australia. Innogy, an energy company based in Germany, is the project owner and developer. Limondale is expected to be the biggest solar project in Australia, upon completion.

Construction of the project started in September 2018, with preparation works and pre-piling tests currently underway. Commercial operations at the solar farm are scheduled to begin in mid-2020. The project is estimated to cost approximately $150m and will generate sufficient electricity for 105,000 households.

It is expected to create between 300 and 400 jobs during construction and up to seven jobs during operational phase.

The plant will assist New South Wales to meet the renewable energy target of 23.5% by 2020, as established under the Renewable Energy Action Plan. It is also expected to bolster the Commonwealth Government’s aim of generating 33,000GWh of renewable energy by 2020.

Limondale solar farm background

The NSW State Government has identified the solar project as a State Significant Development and was awarded the planning consent in September 2017.

Overland Sun Farming, a company based in Australia, initially proposed the project before selling it to Innogy in March 2018.

Limondale solar farm make-up

The Limondale solar farm will be located 14km south of Balranald, towards the western side of the Yanga Way and Balranald Road intersection.

Spread over 900 hectares (ha), the project will be installed with approximately 872,000 Performance Series (P-Series) solar panels to be supplied by SunPower. To be arranged in a single axis tracking configuration, each panel will have a dimension of approximately 1.7m x 1m thereby creating a surface area of approximately 1.65m2 per PV solar panel.

Each PV solar panel row will have an average height of approximately 1.2m, while the maximum height during early morning or late afternoon tracking periods is estimated to be 2m.

The front contact cells of the P-Series panels display high efficiency, power, productivity, and reliability in comparison with conventional panels. In addition, SunPower offers added protection to its panels in the form of complete confidence panel warranty for a period of 25 years.

Power generation and transmission from Limondale solar farm

The Limondale solar farm is located adjacent to the 220kV electrical substation of Transgrid, a manager and operator high-voltage electricity transmission network.

The electricity generated by the solar panels will be directed to inverters through underground electrical collection systems, which will be placed in the electrical conduit trenches of approximately 600mm to 1,200mm in depth.

The inverters will connect to a project electrical switchyard and substation, which will use the connection infrastructure for exporting electricity.

The power generated at the solar farm will be transmitted through an underground transmission line to TransGrid’s Balranald substation, before transmitting to the national grid.

Construction and infrastructure

Major works at Limondale will include the construction of posts, foundations for the inverter blocks, switchyard and management hub structures, and underground cabling, and the installation of PV solar panel frames, panels, inverters, and transmission infrastructure.

Construction materials and infrastructure will be transported to the site by road.

Infrastructure facilities will comprise switchyard, control room, management hub including demountable offices, and other amenities.

Contractors involved

BELECTRIC Solar and Battery (BELECTRIC), a subsidiary of Innogy, was awarded the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) and the operation and maintenance (O&M) service contracts for the solar project in July 2018.

BELECTRIC subcontracted Downer for the construction of the project.

Overland Sun Farming had engaged EMM Consulting for preparing the environmental impact statement (EIS) of the Limondale solar farm.