First solar and storage project on Australia’s main grid to be sold

Off-grid energy specialist MPower says it is kicking off a sales process for Lakeland solar and battery project in Queensland, just two years after buying the first utility-scale solar and battery project to be built on Australia’s main grid.

MPower says it will use cash from the sale of the project, which combines 10.8 MW of solar and a small 1.4 MW/5.3 MWh lithium-ion battery – to expand the company’s portfolio. It aims to build a portfolio of at least 30 utility-scale solar and battery projects across Australia’s eastern states.

Lakeland was hailed in 2016 by one of its sponsors, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, as a “world first project” combining large-scale solar and battery storage into a single fringe-of- grid location

The project was designed to test a number of battery operation modes, including an ‘island’ mode, where the local distribution network is disconnected from the main transmission line.

MPower bought the project in 2022 for $8 million. The original plan expected $1.8 million in revenue every year from sales of energy and large-scale generation certificates (LGCs).

A year later, the company reckoned Lakeland had delivered $1.7 million in annual revenue after it stripped out $1 million in costs and revalued it at $12.7 million following performance upgrades.

Today, MPower issued a brief note saying the project is back on the block.

“As we embark on the next phase of our journey with the Lakeland project, we’re reminded of the full lifecycle capability that MPower possesses in order to drive value for our shareholders,” said MPower CEO Nathan Wise in a statement.

“The continued refinement of our portfolio of assets at the development, construction and operational stages is important against the backdrop of a dynamic industry and the challenges inherent in Australia’s energy transition.”

Rachel Williamson is a science and business journalist, who focuses on climate change-related health and environmental issues.

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