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Merredin to have WA’s largest solar farm

The State’s largest solar farm in Merredin could be producing enough electricity by the end of next year to power 42,000 homes after Chinese firm Risen Energy bought the project.

The Merredin solar farm is planned to have the first phase of about 405,000 solar panels that tilt to track the sun. It will cover about 350 hectares and have a life of 30 years.

Risen Energy yesterday announced it had bought the project from the previous promoter Stellata Energy. Last year Stellata estimated the solar farm would cost $160 million.

Risen plans to start construction late this year and have the 100-megawatt farm operating late next year.

Merredin is also the home of the 200 megawatt Collgar wind farm.

A 2016 Australian Renewable Energy Agency study indicated Merredin was one of the best four locations in Australia to put a solar farm near an existing wind farm. ARENA found WA wind farms generated less electricity during the day so combined well with the daytime peak power from solar generation.

Merredin is also well-placed to send power throughout the State’s power grid, the South West Interconnected System, as it sits at the intersection of major high voltage transmission lines to Perth, Collie and Kalgoorlie.

Risen Energy director of Australian projects John Zhong said the company intended to progressively invest in more than of 2000 megawatts of renewable projects in Australia, with later investments in storage.

“Our first acquisition for the 100 megawatts Yarranlea Solar Farm in Queensland was completed in early 2018 and construction is underway,” he said.

“Merredin Solar Farm is our second acquisition.”

Mr Zhong said Risen is targeting projects that are shovel-ready and looking for financial or construction partners.

The listed Chinese company hopes to complete the acquisition this year.

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