132MW Merredin Solar Farm- WA’s Got The Power


Renowned for its red sands, dry climate, and eternal sunshine, it is no surprise that Western Australia (WA) has some of the largest solar farms in the country. The 132MW Merredin Solar Farm, Western Australia’s largest solar farm to date (462ha), is making waves this month as it has started sending power to the grid after its construction in March 2019.

The 132MW Merredin Solar Farm is one of three renewable energy projects that will join Western Australia’s grid in 2020. It will join the Greenough River, Emu Downs, Northam and Badginarra solar farms in a country first grid-scale solar farming program. Owned by Risen Energy, the 132MW Solar Farm is stationed in WA’s Central Wheatbelt. With over 360,000 solar panels installed the solar farm is expected to produce an output of 281GWh of electricity annually to approximately 42,000 WA homes.Solar Farming

22 Inverter stations will be used to convert the solar energy into alternating current (AC) before it enters the Merredin Terminal Substation.

The Merredin Terminal Substation previously housed the old Merredin diesel generator. In the first few days of solar production however, it was found that the solar farm produced over twice the amount of energy than the generator could in the entire year- proving solar’s place within WA’s commercial energy industry.

3-5 full-time workers will be employed to maintain the solar installation while over 200 positions will be created through-out the life span of the project. Risen Energy “recognises the importance of contributing to the Western Australian economy” and “The Merredin Solar Farm [aims to] support the Western Australian Government’s transition to a green energy future.”

The installation is estimated to have a 30-year operational life span and at the end of the facilities use, all physical infrastructure will be removed ­– returning the land in its original agricultural purpose.

Interested in how you can turn to solar too?

Use our solar quiz to determine what type of solar installation is optimum for your property.

Still not sure? You can check out how much solar your suburb is generating in comparison to others through the Western Power’s site.



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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

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