Tailem Bend solar power plant: Equis Energy contracts UGL to build $200 million facility | PHOTOS, MAP

Work is expected to start within weeks on a $200 million solar power plant at Tailem Bend.

The 127-megawatt solar plant will create hundreds of jobs, training opportunities and economic growth in the surrounding district, according to proponent Equis Energy.

It will produce enough energy to power 41,600 homes, and will save 102,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by comparison with other forms of power generation in South Australia.

It is due to be connected to the power grid in the first quarter of 2019.

Engineering company UGL has been contracted to complete $170 million worth of building work on the project, and to operate and maintain it for five years.

Australian energy company Snowy Hydro had already agreed to purchase 100 per cent of the power the Tailem Bend solar plant would produce for its first 22 years.

Equis also announced last week it was already planning a second stage of works at Tailem Bend.

The additional solar plant, with a capacity of 111MW, would put downward pressure on power prices by making use of infrastructure that will be built as part of the first stage.

Construction of the second stage has been pencilled in for late 2018.

Equis spokesman David Russell said the Tailem Bend project, which had been in the works since 2016, was part of a billion-dollar program of construction work the company had planned for Australia and other countries over the next three years.

"As Asia's largest renewable energy developer, Equis is able to leverage its economies of scale to deliver large scale, low‐cost, reliable renewable energy, which Australia needs, as well as providing employment opportunities and supporting economic growth in local communities," he said.

Australia represents one of the most exciting solar power generation markets globally.

David Russell

Equis has 180 assets which generate 11,135MW of power in Australia, Japan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.

UGL now has a solar farm under construction in every mainland state, according to managing director David Spears, making it the leading engineering, procurement and construction contractor in the renewable energy sector.

It is also involved with projects at Emu Downs, Western Australia; Kidston and Collinsville, Queensland; White Rock, New South Wales; and Bannerton, Victoria.