Solar Shop Australia Sunfarm Programme

Description of project Total: more than 1MWp of Solar ‘Sunfarm’ Power Stations (10-30kWp) ground based arrays installed to date
Client Various, 50+
Location Regional SA, Vic, NSW, Qld; ACT
Description of technology utilised Various: Kaneka a-Si (amorphous) thin film and µm-Si (mictomorpous) thin film; Suntech c-Si (mono-crystalline); Solar Frontier CIS thin film; SMA inverter plant
Value $7m+
Year Completed 2008-2011


The ‘Sun Farm’ programme

Since the launch of Solar Shop Australia’s 10-30kWp sunfarm product with the Pike River Woolshed mini sun farm project commissioned in October 2008, Solar Shop Australia and its commercial team have led the solar industry, having delivered in excess of 1MW of solar farms throughout South Australia, New South Wales, ACT and Queensland. 30 such systems were installed in NSW and ACT in March and April of 2011.


Commsolar and Solar Shop Australia have developed their own proprietary PV framing system for small sunfarm deployment with key design elements being:

  • Swift installation of posts via post-ramming methods (avoided concrete costs allow for lower cost of construction for most regional and remote installations);
  • Innovative (and cost effective) methods of resolving foundational requirements where rock is present;
  • Adjustable head allowing for easy seasonal tilt of PV arrays.

Commsolar’s engineers and network of sunfarm subcontractor installers have more collective experience than any other solar PV operator in Australia, providing its clients with reliable and proven technologies and construction methodologies, ensuring projects are executed on time with no hidden surprises.


The first – Lyrup Free Field Array

The project brief was to design, supply and install a 30 kilo Watt ground based photovoltaic ‘mini sun farm’ for the client, and develop an internal project management plan template for the implementation of Solar Shop Australia’s rollout of its mini Sun Farm product, along with the development of Australia’s first privately owned mega Watt-scale Sun Farm.


Under the project engineer’s oversight local council approvals were achieved in July. Network approval and grid connect approval negotiations took 2 months to complete. System design, including an innovative technique of post-ramming the solar module ground posts, were developed and works began in October 2008, completed in 2 weeks. The new method of delivery now saves time, cost and overall embodied energy of the project avoiding the 14.6 tonnes of concrete and about 8 Tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.


Key local subcontractors were engaged for the structural framing and module installation. Solar Shop Australia’s BCSE accredited electrical installation team oversaw and commissioned the project.


A key feature of the pilot project is the Solar Shop Australia system monitoring facility, which datalogs power and energy yield, as well as local climatic conditions, reporting daily via Telstra NextG network.


This sun farm will assist in the reduction of over 48 Tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere each year.


Sun Farms are a significant part of the future for renewable energy in Australia. Established Sun Farms will show the Australian community that sun farming not only helps fight global warming, but is a sound financial investment into the future.


Pike River Sun Farm Program Pilot Site