The SEA Kilcoy solar farm is a 1.5GW solar photovoltaic (PV) project under construction along with a 500MWh battery storage facility in Queensland, Australia. It will be the biggest solar farm in Australia and one of the biggest single-site solar farms in the world, when completed. The project will also feature the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery.

Sunshine Energy Australia is developing the combined solar PV and battery storage project with an estimated investment of A$2.5bn ($1.77bn).

The project received development approval in November 2018, while the ground-breaking ceremony was held in February 2019.

Scheduled for completion in 2023, the SEA Kilcoy solar farm is expected to generate 2,259GWh of clean electricity a year, which will be sufficient to power more than 300,000 households in the Queensland area.

The project is also expected to offset 2.1 million tons of CO2 emissions a year over its 25 years of  operational life.

The SEA Kilcoy solar farm will increase the renewable energy generation in Queensland by 15%, in line with the Australian state’s policy goal to meet 50% of its power needs from renewable sources by 2030.

It is expected to create 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and 30-60 permanent jobs during operations.

SEA Kilcoy solar farm details

The SEA Kilcoy solar farm will be developed in three stages on a 2,055ha site along the D’Aguilar Highway between Harlin and Kilcoy in Queensland.

It will be installed with approximately 5.2 million solar panels arranged in 247,000 sub-arrays, with each sub-array featuring 21 solar modules.

The electricity generated by the project will be fed to the 275kV national distribution network in Queensland through two on-site substations to be built by the electricity transmission system operator Powerlink Queensland.

SEA Kilcoy battery storage station details

The 500MW battery storage station to be built as part of the project will have the capacity to react to frequency fluctuations in milliseconds by either releasing or absorbing power from the electricity grid and the solar farm. It will reduce the need for conventional power generation for frequency regulation.

The battery storage station will use Sunshine Energy’s own patented lithium-based battery technology called SEA-Power (SEAP).

Each SEAP unit will comprise a 4MW battery storage and battery management system (BMS), fire suppression equipment, thermal management system, switchgear, and uninterruptible power source (UPS).

The SEA Kilcoy battery storage station will be approximately four times the size of Tesla’s 129MW lithium-ion battery storage facility located in Hornsdale, South Australia.

Contractors involved

Ethos Urban is the planning consultant, while entura is another consultant engaged for the combined solar PV and battery storage development project.

Koala Solar will be responsible for installing the solar panels on the SEA Kilcoy solar farm site.