Equis to build 1GW Australian solar farm

The $1.2bn plant, which will be equipped with energy storage when commercially viable, is one of the largest facilities in the country.

Singapore-based Equis Energy has received approval from Queensland’s Western Downs Regional Council to develop the 1GW Wandoan South Solar Project at a cost of A$1.5 billion ($1.19 billion; €1 billion).

The solar farm, covering 1,424 hectares, will be connected to Powerlink’s Wandoan South substation, and able to add battery storage when commercially feasible, according to Equis.

Construction of the project will begin in 2018, with completion expected the following year. The solar farm will feature up to 3 million solar panels and have a generation output of approximately 1.8 million MWh per year, equivalent to the power demands of 255,000 homes. 

The council said it is the region’s largest solar project to date and ranks as among the biggest in the world. “The timeframe in which the council has processed this application highlights the message we are open for business, and I think it is important to reiterate that, although our approval process is rigorous, it is efficient,” said Paul McVeigh, Mayor of the Western Downs Regional Council. 

Equis entered the Australian renewable energy market this February with a debut A$400 million investment in two solar farms. The firm will have a total generation capacity of 1,28GW in Australia, which involves an aggregate investment cost of A$1.9 billion.

The firm is also looking for buyers for its 4.4GW portfolio of operating renewable energy assets across the Asia-Pacific region. The deadline for indicative bids was due late last month. Equis declined to comment on the sale.