Our solar construction expertise extends beyond North America to Australia. In New South Wales, we’ve opened a PCL office as our base for our dedicated solar experts. The Gunnedah Solar Farm is a joint project with Canadian Solar, a client with whom we’ve built a strong relationship through our work on their Canadian solar projects.
The project, our first solar work in Australia, consisted of the design, procurement and construction of a 153-megawatt solar electricity generating station in Gunnedah, New South Wales. Covering 304 hectares, the large-scale solar photovoltaic system uses 460,000 bifacial Canadian Solar-made panels on a single-axis tracking system. The panels continuously generate energy as they follow the sun’s movement, east to west, throughout the day.
We completed the civil works, foundations, underground electrical works, racking and module installation and supply and install of inverter buildings. Canadian Solar supplied the foundation piles, tracker and solar modules and subcontracted the substation design-build.
When the global pandemic halted pre-construction, PCL and Canadian Solar updated design documents for new equipment and renegotiated key terms of supply agreements to meet the rapidly changing global market. Components for the project were shipped from multiple locations around the world: modules and trackers from China, switch room electronics via Malaysia, cable from India, combiner box parts from South Africa, and inverters from Spain.
PCL’s experience and industry-leading safety policies and procedures were integral in navigating Australia’s stringent power grid certification processes. PCL’s team quickly familiarized themselves with Australian construction standards and were able to expedite early-stage certification, a process that can take normally take six months to a year. Doing this ensured the project stayed on schedule.
After certification of substantial completion status, the Gunnedah Solar Farm will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 48,000 households and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 290,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year — the equivalent of removing approximately 125,000 cars from the road.