Manilla Solar & Renewable Energy Storage Project

September 23rd, 2020

Manilla Solar and Renewable Energy Storage Project

A hybrid battery storage system of lithium-ion batteries and a hydrogen storage medium is to be installed as part of a solar PV development near Manilla, as part of a wider community-based solar and renewable energy storage plan across multiple sites in New South Wales.

Main proponents:

Manilla Community Renewable Energy Inc., Providence Asset Group

Main end-use classification:

Microgrid/ regional applications


Advanced development

Estimated cost:

AUD$7.3 million for the whole project

Other involvement:


Production details:

Hydrogen production – 400 kilograms per day system capacity


New South Wales, Australia

Announced funding:

AUD$3.5 million – New South Wales Government Regional Community Energy Fund

Project description

The Providence Asset Group has plans to construct 28 community-based solar farms and renewable energy storage facilities across New South Wales (though it is anticipated not all communities would opt for part ownership). Providence is focussing on multiple smaller-scale facilities as a de-risking endeavour and to allow local towns to share in the investment. Media reports indicate that Providence has Development Applications for solar farm facilities at Manilla, Finley, Guyra, Gunnedah and Tamworth (as at early December 2020, reports indicate that facilities at the first three locations have had applications approved).

Hybrid storage technology, including hydrogen storage alongside lithium-ion batteries, would be attached to each project.  The Manilla project has received funding from the New South Wales Government.

A hybrid battery storage system of lithium-ion batteries and a hydrogen storage medium, developed at the University of New South Wales, is to be installed as part of the Manilla Solar development.

The project is to be located on a 15-hectare block just outside the small town of Manilla, 45 kilometres (km) northwest of the regional city of Tamworth in New South Wales (and within 3 km of the local electrical substation).

Manilla Community Renewable Energy Inc. (MCRE) was formed in 2013 by local investors with the aim of developing a community-owned renewable energy project.  Providence Asset Group is a clean energy-oriented investment firm and partnered with MCRE early in 2019 to form Manilla Solar, which will spearhead the development of the Manilla Solar project.

The project is to install around 4.95MW of solar PV electricity generation capacity and include a hybrid combination of lithium-ion battery storage (4.5MW/4.5MWh) and a hydrogen energy storage system (2MW/17MWh).

H2Store, in collaboration with researchers at the University of New South Wales, and supported by an AUD$3.5 million investment from Providence Asset Group in early 2019, have developed a hydrogen hydride energy storage system.

The hydrogen energy storage system consists of two half-height 20-foot shipping containers, capable of delivering 24 MWh of power for around 6-7 hours. The battery energy storage system consists of four 40 foot shipping containers, capable of storing around an hour of energy.

Hydrogen storage is considered complementary to lithium-ion battery storage, the former provides long term energy storage while lithium-ion provides short-term power and grid support benefits.

The solar farm would be connected to the electricity grid to allow access to the community as well as the wider energy market.

A Development Application was submitted in March 2020. The Application was approved by the Northern Regional Planning Panel in December 2020. It is reported that construction on the project would commence in the first part of 2021, with production of renewable electricity anticipated by the end of 2021 (and hydrogen storage in early 2022).


March 2020: The New South Wales Government announces a grant of AUD$3.5 million (through the Regional Community Energy Fund) to support the project.

December 2020: The Northern Regional Planning Panel approves the Development Application for the Manilla Solar project.


This description is based on publicly available information as at December 2020.