Solar powered trams

2 min

The Numurkah solar farm in Victoria has begun sending power to Victoria’s grid, in a deal to power Melbourne’s famous network of trams.

Located in the Goulburn Valley region in northwest Victoria, Numurkah solar farm is a 100MW (AC) renewable energy project supported by a 38MW Green Certificate Purchase agreement by the Victorian Government and a 15-year power purchase agreement with GFG Alliance’s SIMEC ZEN Energy. 

French company Neoen, one of the leading independent producers of renewable energy in France and Australia, owns the Numurkah Solar Farm. The project generates about 255,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity into the national power grid each year, enough solar to power over 40,000 homes. The project, which become operational mid-2019, was constructed across 500 hectares and includes approximately 350,000 solar panels. 

According to T&L News, the Victorian Government has contracted 30 per cent of Numurkah’s large-scale generation certificates to support its goal of covering the electricity load of Melbourne’s tram network with solar power. However, commuters shouldn’t expect to see solar panels on Melbourne’s fleet of 400 trams, as the electricity the tram network requires to operate with will be offset by the green certificates purchased by the Victorian Government. This is expected to result in a reduction of over 80,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Clean Energy Finance Corp (who invested in the Numurkah project) CEO Ian Learmonth said last year, “For passengers on Melbourne’s iconic tram network, the benefits are also clear. Trams get cars off the road, which is crucial for lowering emissions. Supporting the operation of the tram network with solar energy is a further opportunity to reduce emissions in the transport sector.”

While Melbournians wait for their tram home in wet, windy and cold conditions throughout the winter season, they can at least take comfort in the fact that the sun is still making their lives a little easier!

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*As the system and market operator, we are fuel and technology neutral. The products, services and providers in this content are for illustrative purposes only and are not endorsed by AEMO.

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