University-powering 255MW PV project nears completion in Australia

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The Sunraysia Solar Farm in the Riverina town of Balranald, near Mildura, will be comprised of 755,000 PV panels when completed and will be located over an 800-hectare site. Image: UNSW Sydney

With a new 255MW PV project nearing completion, the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) is on pace to draw 100% of its energy usage from renewable sources by 2020. 

The Sunraysia Solar Farm in the Riverina town of Balranald, near Mildura, will be comprised of 755,000 PV panels when completed and will be located over an 800-hectare site.

Back in December 2017, UNSW Estate Management signed off on a 15-year solar supply deal with both Maoneng Australia and Origin Energy for 25% of the installation’s generation output, which would allow the university to reach its 100% goal by 2020. 

The plan is designed to address UNSW’s key environmental issues. The university will make the switch to 100% renewable electricity in December 2019, with UNSW Energy Manager Nicholas Jones noting that the Sunraysia Solar Farm is on track for completion by December 2019 as well. 

Jones added: “Excellent progress is being made with the construction of the solar farm and we are on target to achieve our ESP goal.”

All the earthworks, trenching and cable laying are complete at the site, while over 104,000 support piles have been driven in as well. Contractors are now more than half-way through installing the 755,000 solar panels on site as well. 

At peak output, the Sunraysia Solar Farm will generate enough energy to power more than 50,000 homes and will offset approximately 430,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. 

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