The Whyalla City Council today formally reached agreement with the Adani Group for the Indian company to develop a $ 200 million solar generator north of the city.
The project will involve a 100 MW solar generation plant,with potential capacity of up to 150 MW which would make it one of the largest in Australia on one site.
Adani, the largest solar energy generator in India, is planning to have a number of solar projects in Australia with a total capacity of 1,000 MW within the next five years.
The solar projects are in addition to Adani’s $16.5 billion investment in the planned Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin as well as rail and port facilities.
Construction of the Whyalla project is due to start mid-2017 and be completed in approximately 12 months.
The workforce will peak at 350 employees, with full time operation staff to number up to five. A land purchase agreement has been signed with the council for the site which is in an industrial land estate.
The solar generated electricity will be fed into the main network which will boost reliability of supply in the region.
Adani currently has solar generation projects in India planned or operational totalling more than 1,400 MW, including one of the world’s largest solar plants at Tamil Nadu in southern India which has a capacity of almost 650 MW.
The solar projects are part of Adani’s global strategic balanced approach topower generation with coal-fired, solar and wind plants.
The company’s CEO of Australian operations, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, said solar opportunities in Australia were enormous because it had the highest solar radiation per square metre of any continent in the world.
Solar energy penetration in Australia – more than 2 million homes have solar PV and/or solar hot water systems – demonstrated acceptance of the renewable energy source.
“Coupled with the company’s $ 3.3 billion dollars of investment to date across its mine, rail and port projects in Queensland, Adani’s plans to pursue solar investment opportunities reflect the confidence the company has in the Australian market,” Janakaraj said.
Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer said Whyalla City Council was pleased to be working with Adani on its project, and looked forward to the economic benefits the project would bring.
“We have been working with Adani for quite some time now to reach this agreement, and we are very much looking forward to seeing the project come to fruition,” Breuer said. “Whyalla City Council strongly supports renewable projects, and we believe Adani’s solar generator project will bring major benefits to the City of Whyalla and the region as a whole.”
Member for Giles, Eddie Hughes, warmly welcomed Adani’s intent to build one of Australia’s largest solar farms in Whyalla.
“This is great news for Whyalla,” said Hughes. “For many years we have promoted Whyalla as a perfect location for solar energy production. We have sun, land, a skilled workforce and a supportive community. Those attributes have attracted the interest of Adani.”
“Construction of the plant will provide a boost to employment and it will provide one element in what is shaping up to be a much brighter future next year. I look forward to Adani becoming part of the Whyalla community and making a very positive contribution to the future of our city.”