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Monday, 20 April 2018 08:88

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Commercial Solar Farms & Large Solar Arrays

Australia is in one of the world’s solar “hot zones” that provides maximum exposure to the sun’s rays throughout the year.  This abundant energy source is FREE to capture and convert it to usable energy/power for business or factory's and whole towns.

So, How much does a Commercial Solar Farm cost ?

We consider 100kW Solar Farm a good Return-On-Investment (ROI) for $300'000 Total investment Cost, the Total Equipment outlay is approx. $160'000, leaving the Civil Works Applications & Labour Cost!

Once the Solar Farm is Installed & Approved, you get the one-off Payment of approx. $42'000 (2022) for Solar Farm's STC's, this is ONLY for Solar Arrays 100kW or Smaller.

10x DART-15 Units using 700W Solar Panels make up a 100kW Solar Farm will generate peak power of 100kW per hour (commonly 10+ hours), thus providing approx. $40'000+ per year ROI based on FIT, with an ongoing Income after approx. 4 years, a good starting point for a 25 year ROI, on a Strip of land.

A ballpark cost to for a 1MW (1'000kW) DART solar farm in 2022 is $1'400'000 +/-$250k, around the Sydney region, when scaled up to say 5MW Solar Array, the costs come down significantly per MW.

Because of the cheaper cost, many retailers selling older 250W solar panels, be aware there is a huge generation & footprint difference between 250W and newer 550W panels that Generate over 50% more energy.

We are currently taking enquires from philanthropic investors looking to invest & promote the building of independently owned Solar Farms anywhere in Australia, Agri-Solar is the NEW GREEN.

An 11.00mt x 5.50mt Sky-Dome Solar Array is a Great way to Provide Partial Shading for Crops/Plants Grown beneath the Array, with or without the Sky-dome, is called Agri-Solar.

Keep in mind a 100kW Solar Array needs just 10x DART-15 Units, that will Generate 1MW of Energy Per Day with 10 hours of full Sun, DART-15 Units require a 15mt Spacing on flat ground, and can be installed along a Fence Line to provide Shading for Livestock or Crops etc.

Where a 1MW solar farm requires approx. 5 hectares (2.5 acres) of land, depending on the Solar Racking type in investment of approx. $1'000'000.

Double Axis-solar Tracking (DART) Racking provides superior Energy Generation of ALL solar racking types, "Fixed Tilted Racking" is the least efficient Racking type, if interested please email-us with your enquire for a Private or Community owned Solar Farm!

Investing in a large 5MW Solar Farm is a big investment, a 5MW DART Solar Array provides a Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) – DART Racking is more expensive, the returns are calculated on the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Price etc., the total investment cost will pay for the full installation in approx. 3~4 years, and thereafter return an ongoing income stream for decades!

We consider a 100kW solar array ideally suited to investors looking to earn an ongoing income for decades to come, these commercial Solar Farm Calculators show variations on the actual return on investment, adding Energy Storage would obviously change these figures!

Private or community owned solar farms are the new smart Energy Generators that sell there excess Energy to the local community via Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Energy Trading, thereby supporting the local homes & businesses, making solar farms totally green energy Generator, unlike the current deceptively named Energy Retainers, that don't actually distribute, supply or pay for the energy you consume!

A much needed Newcomer has entered the Energy market, Power Ledger an Australian company providing a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Energy Trading Platform, this way you purchase Energy directly from the Generator, and there is No need for the current Retail brokers, this Disruptive force is set to cut out the un-needed Retailers!

50x 550W panels =27.5kWh Solar Array;

50x 700W panels =35.0kWh Solar Array;

    Fixed Tilted Panel Racking =137kWh =5hr peak.
    Single Axis-solar Tracking Racking =220kWh =8hr peak.
    Dual Axis-solar Tracking Racking =300kWh =11hr peak.
    Fixed Tilted Panel Racking =175kWh =5hr peak.
    Single Axis-solar Tracking Racking =280kWh =8hr peak.
    Dual Axis-solar Tracking Racking =385kWh =11hr peak.

Note that Fixed Flat-panel installations are Only able Generate Peak Energy efficiently for 4~5 hours per day, where Single-axis solar tracking can Generate Peak energy for 6~8+hours per day, and Dual Axis-solar Tracking reigns supreme by Generating Peak energy for 10~14hr per day, in Australia the further south your live of the equator the better fro DART Units!

The final system cost can vary depending on whether single phase (240v) or 3 phase (480v) power is required, 3 phase power can be produced using one or three or more separate inverters, on large solar farms, sub-station may be required.

If your are a small/medium business using less energy per day than you produce and your want to get your system paid off by your electricity savings, then we strongly advise you invest in energy storage equal to your highest daily kWh consumption - then you will be able to store the lion share of energy production into a battery bank, once the batteries are full, you then have the choice to export any excess energy into the state grid, and gain a feed-in Tariff, that may cover the State Grid "Supply Charge".

With a stand-alone Solar Farm the return on savings will start relatively quick, however, incorporating energy storage system will do two things, firstly allow the owner to black-out proof there premises and reduce the reliance of importing energy from the state grid, usually after sunset and at a far more expensive rate!

Electricity prices should benefit from increased renewable supply because the need for high cost, long distance transmission will be reduce as generation is distributed through private grid feeds. Introducing increased transmission storage to be later exported for peak power feed-in Tariff (Rebate) will further reduce network infrastructure needs by the deceptive self regulating State Grid justifications, and upgrades fall. The regulators need to push providers as they have a disincentive under the current arrangements.

Excess energy produced that is Not sent to short term storage systems, in many cases will produce a feed-in Tariff for many years to come.  Using Solar and any alternative energy source, the best being Aqua generation closely followed by Wind generation will contribute to reducing reliance on fossil fuels and ensure a brighter future for our planet.

It is said that Solar energy has the potential to provide over 1,000 times the total world energy consumption, though in 2016 it is reported that solar provided less than 1% of the total used.  Installing a solar farm will greatly contribute to increasing that figure.

What is a Solar Farm pay-back time?

This largely depends on calculating the size of the solar farm energy production and consumption, and whether you use Fixed Tilted (FT), Single-Axis Tracking (SAT) or Dual-Axis Tracking (DART) Solar Racking Units, as the latter two Generate substantially more energy than any Fixed panel Racking, that will only Generate 4~5 hours of Peak energy per day, compared to 11 hours using DART units!

The other substantial expense is Labour for Installation & Wiring of the field Racking.  Energy storage is as equally important for energy security, as it allows for usage of stored energy when in high demand!

We can provide you with a FREE Solar Farm estimation by fill in this Solar Farm evaluation form, working with your budget and what you are wanting to accomplish, we will provide the main Material cost, excluding machinery hire & installation labour.

Consider purchasing Energy storage, and backup Generator as part of your system, it's worth calculating how the cost of the system compares with the saving you will make on your energy bills, use this Solar Farm break-even Investment calculator, it provides a good estimation of future income/savings.  There are a range of factors that influence the payback period, including increases in energy prices, ongoing maintenance and energy storage equipment costs, which you should factor into the outlay costs.

It may be worthwhile checking if there are any state or even local government Rebates available for purchasing solar panels &/or a battery storage system.

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Levelised Cost Of Energy: The calculations of Levelised Cost Of Energy (LCOE) of these three Solar PV Racking depend crucially on assumptions made about ($/kW) construction costs and annual capacity factors of the three solar Racking types, in general terms, a Solar Farm costs $1'000'000 per MW.

Contracts for Difference: The purpose of CFD is to incentive investments in new low-carbon electricity generation by providing stability and predictability to future revenue streams. Governments state that; "we must de-carbonise electricity generation and it is vital that we take action now to transform permanently into a low-carbon economy and meet our renewable energy target by 2020 and our 80 per cent carbon reduction target by 2050. To put us on this latter trajectory, power sector emissions need to be largely de-carbonised by the 2030s. At the heart of this strategy to deliver this transition is a new system of long-term contracts in the form of CFD, providing clear, stable and predictable revenue streams for investors in low-carbon electricity generation".

CFD's explained: Is a financial hedging arrangement, where two parties agree to trade a certain volume of a product for a set price. These parties do not physically exchange this product in the ‘hedge market’. The product is purchased in a separate ‘physical market’ (e.g. a wholesale electricity ‘spot market’). If the price is higher or lower than the agreed price, then the parties settle the difference between the ‘hedge contract’ and ‘physical market’ prices. (Search, Electricity Futures Contract and Spot Market.)

CFD is usually a long-term contract between an electricity generator and Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC). The contract enables the generator to stabilise its revenues at a pre-agreed level (the Strike Price) for the duration of the contract. Under the CFD, payments can flow from LCCC to the generator, and vice versa. So, again, under the CFD's, when the market price for electricity generated by a CFD Generator (the spot market price) is below the Strike Price set out in the contract, payments are usually made by LCCC to the CFD Generator to make up the difference. However, when the reference price is above the Strike Price, the CFD Generator pays LCCC the difference.


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