Australia’s first large-scale hybrid wind and solar farm is set to be built near Canberra, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) providing a $9.9m grant.
The money would go towards the $26m cost of building a 10MW solar photovoltaic plant alongside the existing Gullen Range windfarm.
Goldwind, one of the Chinese companies that will build and operate the project, said the solar farm was expected to generate about 22,000 MWh of electricity in the first year of operation, enough to supply about 3,000 homes.
Building the solar farm on the same location as the windfarm meant 20% could be saved from the construction costs of the solar farm, said Ivor Frischknecht, the chief executive of Arena.
Arena recently commissioned an investigation into the costs and benefits of hybrid solar and windfarms.
It found that besides huge cost savings – achieved mostly because the grid connection was able to be shared by the two generators – the two energy sources were often complementary, producing peak outputs at different times of both the day and year. That meant they combined to create a more reliable energy source.