Large-scale solarProject Gullen Solar Farm
This report identifies complications and challenges arising from co-location during operation of the plant. It does not repeat information reported in the previous knowledge sharing report, and the two reports should be read together.
Gullen Solar Farm (GSF) is a 10MW AC (13.2867 MW DC) solar farm, co-located with the Gullen Range Wind Farm (GRWF) in the Southern Highlands of NSW. It is owned by Gullen Solar Farm Pty Ltd. GSF connects to the electricity grid through the GRWF 33/330kV substation. Both GSF and GRWF are owned by Beijing Jingneng Clean Energy (Australia) Pty Ltd (BJCE Australia).
GSF was identified for a $9.9 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in 2014. The grant was provided to assist in demonstrating the benefits of co-locating large scale solar generation with existing wind farms, particularly utilising existing wind farm infrastructure, connection to the electricity network and stakeholder relationships to reduce construction and operational costs.
As a requirement of Gullen Solar Farm’s participation in the Advancing Renewables Program, Gullen Solar Pty Ltd is required to prepare two knowledge sharing reports. The first of these reports titled “Co-location of Large Scale Wind and Solar Farms – Learnings from Gullen Solar Farm Development and Construction” was submitted to ARENA on 29th January 2020. This is the second report, and focuses on learnings from the operational phase of the project.
The GSF is operated and maintained by DBJV, who built the project under an EPC contract. BJCE Australia undertakes asset management outside of DBJV’s responsibilities.
Learnings from the operation of GSF, relating to co-location of wind and solar, included the following:
- Integration of SCADA systems for co-located wind and solar farms should be carefully considered, including the costs vs the benefits and ensuring relevant contracts cover interfaces.
- Arrangements for high voltage switching and isolation of the co-located facility should be considered at the design stage and relevant stakeholders feedback sought.
Learnings from the operation of GSF, not related to co-location include:
- Solar panel cleaning can be problematic, particularly for hard to remove substances such as bird faeces.
- Use of sheep for grass control inside the solar farm array has been effective at reducing operational costs.