The Distance to Here

The Distance to Here

At this time almost exactly 5 years ago, YES Group’s newly created South Australian green energy project - Redmud Green Energy - was ramping up the construction of our very first large-scale ground mounted solar installation. It was a time of equal parts confusion and excitement as the model was completely new to market. While we furiously attempted to develop and understand key processes and procedures, we were simultaneously wading through the chaotic quagmire of legislation and stakeholder policies which made no provision whatsoever for what we were endeavouring to achieve.

I remember the initial conversations with the South Australian energy distributer as they attempted to not only ascertain exactly where we fit into their energy distribution model, but what impact our installations would have on existing infrastructure. Our sites were too large to be classified as residential or large commercial, yet they weren’t quite large enough to be classed as utility. Then there was the plethora of governing bodies to contend with - each with their own set of requirements and rules - to which we would need to report; ESCOSA, AEMO, the CEC, the AER, and a whole bunch of other government bodies with very official sounding acronyms and very convoluted needs.

Yet as we developed more and more solar farms around the state, and the Redmud Green Energy brand gained traction with varying investor types and land-owners – driven largely by community interest and some fairly decent media attention - we became considerably more methodical in rolling the project out. Five years later we are South Australia’s largest developer of small-scale solar farms and - having forged a key relationship with Sustainable Energy Infrastructure (SEI) – this is a trend which looks likely to continue.
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It hasn’t all been rainbows and ponies though, and what started as a super-positive movement taking advantage of the extreme market volatility at the time has definitely been dealt its fair share of challenges, least of which being a global pandemic. Even still for our land-owner partners - particularly for the early adopters and heavy electricity users - the financial case of having a solar farm on their properties, reactivating unused land and providing supplementary income streams continues to make sense.

Through thick and thin, we’ve seen just about everything this industry can throw at us over the past five years, but the real boost to YES Group and the Redmud Green Energy project came when we got approval to build the first two solar farms in partnership with SEI. The 2MW site at Bowmans which energised recently and the 5MW site in Renmark which is less than a week away from going live now serve as the markers which ushered in a new era for the business, propelling us into the next tier of development with a wealth of understanding about the energy market and industry which could truly only be garnered from the experiences of the last five years. Having gained approval for the next round of sites – consisting of three large-scale developments totalling 15MW – YES Group are fast becoming South Australia’s powerhouse of renewable energy solutions.

And so, at this time five years ago we were beginning construction on the first 200kW ground mounted solar farm in Renmark, and today we have built nearly one hundred similar sized projects with a portfolio of over 50MW of generation, with a growing shovel ready portfolio over the next two years.

I can only imagine what the coming five years will bring, but if it’s anything like the last, I may need to up my medication.
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About the Author

Patrick is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Yates Electrical Services. When he's not designing stuff and writing stories, he performs as an acoustic soloist and spends time with his beautiful little family.

Patrick also likes long walks on the beach, sewing, and photoshopping himself to look like an Avenger. He really wishes he was an Avenger.