Shell made its biggest solo move yet into utility-scale solar as the oil supermajor announced plans for 120MW PV array in Australia.

The plant in Queensland marks another advance by Shell into renewables and the wider power sector, where it has stated ambitions to be a top global player.

The Gangarri solar facility near Wandoan will tap into the power infrastructure at Shell’s QGC gas project and is due to be up and running in 2021, with the fossil plant’s operator Shell Energy Australia as its launch customer.

Shell’s global solar activities so far have focused on its stakes in third-party players such as Silicon Ranch in the US, Cleantech Solar in Asia and India’s Orb Energy.

The Gangarri plant adds to the oil supermajor’s growing clean energy stable that includes offshore wind project stakes, the floating wind pioneer Eolfi and Tesla’s rival in the battery storage space, Sonnen.

Shell said in January that it will have a new leader at its New Energies unit from April, as Elisabeth Brinton takes over from long-serving chief Mark Gainsborough

Shell had already deepened its Australian power sector footprint last year when it bought commercial & industrial electricity provider ERM.

Shell Australia chairman Tony Nunan said: “Gangarri solar farm will help power the operations of our QGC project and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 300,000 tonnes a year.”

French oil giant Total this week signed a deal worth around $500m (€454m) with the Adani group to acquire a 50% stake in the Indian conglomerate's vast solar portfolio.