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"World's biggest": $1 billion solar farm for Riverland

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UPDATED: A $1 billion solar and battery storage project - the largest on the planet - will open in the Riverland later this year, the Lyon Group of companies says.

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Lyon Partner David Green said construction on Riverland Solar Storage, north-east of Adelaide, containing 3.4 million solar panels and 1.1 million batteries, would begin in June.

Green said the project would employ 270 workers.

“Riverland Solar Storage’s 330MW solar generation and 100MW battery storage system will be Australia’s biggest solar farm with 3.4 million solar panels and will also include 1.1 million batteries,” said Green.

The Lyon Group expects the facility to be operational by December.

Green was joined by Premier Jay Weatherill for the announcement at Parliament House.

Lyon had previously announced another solar storage project – Kingfisher Solar Storage – near Roxby Downs, however Green said Riverland Solar Storage would be built first because the land was secured and the grid connection was “further advanced”.

Lyon expects construction to begin on the Kingfisher project in September, and for the project to be operational by mid-2018.

He said the “technology and other commercial arrangements are in place, network capacity analysis and discussions with network owners are well advanced, and development consultation and approvals have commenced”.

Green said both the Riverland and Kingfisher projects would feature battery storage systems larger than any currently operating on Earth.

“If the 4.7 million solar panels at Riverland and Kingfisher were placed end to end, they would reach from Adelaide to Brisbane and back, and then all the way to Melbourne,” he said.

He added that that energy consumers would benefit from the State Government’s grid-scale battery tender, announced earlier this month as part of its response to the state’s energy security crisis.

“The South Australian Government’s leadership on large-scale battery storage has come together with technology cost reductions and international financial interest to provide a timely solution to some of the challenges in the state’s electricity system,” he said.

He added that the outcome of the tender would not determine whether Lyon’s projects are built, but rather how storage on would be configured on the sites.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said that if Lyon was successful in its bid to build the Government’s battery, the Government would write contracts for the facility to be available at peak times.

He said if the company wasn’t successful, there wouldn’t be any State Government subsidy to the project.

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