Wirsol and Renew Estate plan 1GW storage-ready solar portfolio in Australia

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The ability retrofit solar farms with energy storage with ease will become a major advantage to any developer. Credit: Wirsol

Solar developer Wirsol Energy, an arm of Wircon Group, has partnered Australian developer Renew Estate to develop a pipeline of more than 1GW solar PV capacity that is storage-ready.

The firms already have 400MW of large-scale solar farms in development with construction of the first projects targeted to start in Q1 next year. No date was given for when the overall 1GW of projects is expected to be completed. The two firms are already looking at further opportunities to collaborate in the wider Pacific region near Australia, particularly in Fiji and New Zealand.

In March, Wirsol announced it had acquired three new utility-scale solar farms totalling 198MW combined in Australia. It also announced a new office in Sydney in May.

Mark Hogan, managing director of Wirsol Energy, said: “We are delighted to be working with Renew Estate and want to bring a fresh approach to the development of projects in the Australian market. We have already successfully entered the Australia market with the acquisition of the first large-scale portfolio of solar farm projects (200MW in QLD and VIC). We have delivered over 1GW of innovative solar projects in Europe and are now committed to developing a portfolio across Australia.”

Renew Estate will be supported by global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, and energy advisory firm Beast Solutions.

Simon Currie, global head of energy at Norton Rose Fulbright, said: “Dramatic falls in the cost of solar and wind energy and storage technologies mean we can now plan for a zero carbon future with affordable, reliable and sustainable energy. The renewable energy industry should look for opportunities to regenerate and repurpose existing hubs like Port Augusta and the La Trobe and Hunter Valleys. This is an innovative partnership which will deliver future-ready projects incorporating storage and enhancing the reliability of the system.”

With the expected surge of energy storage applications in the future, the ability to retrofit solar farms with energy storage with ease will become a major advantage to any developer, hence the focus on ‘storage-ready’ projects. Some Australian grids have also struggled in the past year, with renewables penetration often controversially getting the blame, which is another driver for coupling with storage.

Australia has become a major pioneer of solar-plus-storage with enormous project announcements from the likes of Lyon Group and SolarQ. Meanwhile, Tesla recently took up on its own chief Elon Musk's challenge to deliver a 100MW battery for South Australia within 100 days or deliver it for free.

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