In July 2012 Infigen was granted planning approval from Palerang Council for the development of the Capital East solar farm – a solar photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage demonstration facility of up to 1 MW capacity.
Construction was completed in 2013, with the first 120 kilowatt stage designed to trial innovative technologies and construction techniques. The solar farm commenced generating electricity in September 2013. The development is also a demonstration facility to support Infigen Energy’s entry into large-scale solar PV generation and integration of energy storage technologies.
Sharing the same network connection, the energy storage system is able to be charged and discharged from either the solar PV array or the grid. This provides valuable experience for the market in understanding how energy storage can be optimised to facilitate deployment of renewable energy generation.
Capital East solar farm is the first solar PV and energy storage system registered as a market generator in the National Electricity Market.
Infigen seeks to source materials and services from locally based suppliers to support the local economy around its activities, enhance community engagement, and to reduce its impact on the environment from transportation. At the Capital East solar farm, activities such as fencing, earth and road works services and construction materials were all procured from local suppliers.
Working with the future generation
The development and construction of the Capital East solar farm is providing valuable practical experience to our next generation of renewable energy professionals. This includes Naomi Stringer, who is part of a UNSW Co-op student internship program.
“I started work with Infigen last November and will be with them for the rest of 2013, before going back to university in 2014. It’s a great opportunity and has been a truly incredible experience so far. Having the opportunity to construct a solar farm is extremely exciting and far beyond what you can learn from a textbook. My supervisors have been fantastic – despite the endless questions they have had to put up with – and I can’t wait to see Infigen expand its solar capacity in the future.”
Green Globe Awards: Commended for climate change leadership
The Capital East solar farm was highly commended by the NSW Government’s Office of Heritage and Environment in the 2014 Green Globes Awards in the category of Climate Change Leadership. This award recognises outstanding initiatives and/or leadership in the field of climate change mitigation and adaptation in New South Wales.