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Lessons from Large-Scale Solar in Australia
L. McLeod, G. Dickeson, C. Paynter, B. Herteleer, L. Frearson, M. Tuckwell, M. Miller, D. Scheltus
Financing, National Programme, Grid Integration, Large-Scale Solar, Government Funding
Finance, Markets and Policies
Subtopic: Policies and Scenarios for Renewables, Societal and Global Challenges
Event: 36th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
Session: 7DO.7.2
1906 - 1913
ISBN: 3-936338-60-4
Paper DOI: 10.4229/EUPVSEC20192019-7DO.7.2
0,00 EUR
Document(s): paper, presentation


In 2016, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s Large-Scale Solar Funding Round provided over AU$90M in grant funding to eight separate developers to build twelve large-scale solar projects, where each developer was then obliged to share knowledge, insights and data in relation to the projects (one developer also agreed to share knowledge from two additional large-scale solar projects that did not receive funding). All 14 projects (the projects) successfully reached financial close and, as of August 2019, they are all generating electricity. This paper shares key information and presents the main successes and challenges experienced. Total project cost ranged from AU$1.82/WAC to AU$2.54/WAC, averaging 2% over-budget, and ranged from 16% under- to 25% over-budget. Compared to the project schedule from financial close, the projects reached practical completion, on average, over 38 weeks later than expected. Despite the common assumption of first-generation coinciding with full-generation, ramping-up took an average of 28 weeks to complete; eight of the projects proponents received payments for liquidated damages from the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors, totalling more than AU$40M; and 10 of the projects underestimated the impact of network loss adjustments. The leading cause of delays and cost overruns was associated with the increased complexity of grid connection, including verifying project grid models. Poor weather during construction and monitoring of progress and standards under EPC agreements were among some of the other major challenges.