Large-scale solar photovoltaics – competitive round

Map of Australia showing locations of projects submitted to final competitive large-scale solar PV funding round. Click to enlarge

ARENA is playing a vital role providing bridge funding for projects that will make large-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) more competitive by increasing confidence and building supply chains.

This competitive funding round has already reduced costs through competitive tension and encouraged a portfolio of new Australian solar plants to proceed to more advanced stages of planning and development.

In line with our investment priorities and part of the Advancing Renewables Program (ARP), this round aims to support further cost reduction in large-scale solar PV. Growth in the local large-scale solar PV sector will provide a significant boost for Australia’s regional economy, with our competitive funding round estimated to create upwards of 1000 new jobs in construction, manufacturing and civil engineering.

Projects invited to submit a full application

20 high merit projects proposals have been submitted, seeking $211 million funding towards $1.6 billion worth of projects with 757 MWs of total capacity. The increasing competitiveness of these projects is reflected in the amount of funding needed, which fell from $1.60 in 2014 to 43 cents per watt in the expression-of-interest phase in November 2015. This need fell again by more than a third to an average of 28 cents per watt in the full applications submitted June 2016.

ARENA has worked closely with State Governments and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which will be providing debt financing, in developing this funding round.

Detailed due diligence and merit assessment analysis of the 20 applications is now being undertaken. ARENA expects to announce the successful projects in September this year.

Organisation Project Town State MW
Origin Energy Limited Darling Downs Solar Farm Dalby QLD 106.8
Gannawarra Solar Farm Pty Ltd Gannawarra Solar Farm Kerang VIC 52.8
Syncline Energy Pty Ltd Bannerton Solar Park Bannerton VIC 51.2
Genex Power Limited Kidston Solar Project Kidston QLD 50.0
KCSF Consortium Kelsey Creek Solar Farm Proserpine QLD 50.0
Neoen Australia Pty Ltd Parkes Solar Farm Parkes NSW 46.0
Infigen Energy Manildra Solar Farm Manildra NSW 42.4
RATCH-Australia Corporation Limited Collinsville Solar Power Station Collinsville QLD 42.0
Infigen Energy Capital Solar Farm Bungendore NSW 39.0
SF Suntech Australia Pty Ltd Riverina Solar Farm Griffith NSW 33.9
Neoen Australia Pty Ltd Griffith Solar Farm Griffith NSW 26.4
Canadian Solar (Australia) Pty Ltd Oakey Solar Farm Oakey QLD 25.0
Neoen Australia Pty Ltd Dubbo Solar Hub Dubbo NSW 22.4
APA Group Emu Downs Solar Farm Cervantes WA 20.1
Goldwind Australia Pty Ltd White Rock Solar Farm Glen Innes NSW 20.0
Lyon Infrastructure Investments Pty Ltd Kingfisher solar storage project Far northern South Australia SA 17.0
Canadian Solar (Australia) Pty Ltd Longreach Solar Farm Longreach QLD 15.0
Overland Sun Farming Company Pty Ltd Hughenden Sun Farm Hughenden QLD 14.2
EPHO Pty Ltd Gidginbung Solar Farm Temora NSW 12.2
Whitsunday Solar Farm Pty Ltd (sponsored by Edify Energy and Solar Choice) Whitsunday Solar Farm Collinsville QLD 52.8

Applications

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) closed on 2 November 2015. Applicants were notified in writing of the outcome of the EOI assessment by 16 December 2015.

Successful applicants at the EOI stage have been be provided with further details about the full application process.

Full applications were received 15 June 2016, and are currently being assessed. 

Scope of activity

The large-scale solar competitive round will support activities that fit within the following parameters:

  • projects must generate all their electricity from solar PV
  • projects must be able to demonstrate a levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of below $135/MWh (calculated in accordance with the ARENA LCOE calculator (XLS 298KB))
  • projects must meet or exceed the minimum project size of 5 MW (AC)
  • total grant funding requested for a project must not exceed $30 million
  • projects must be connected to the National Electricity Market (NEM) or the South West Interconnected System (SWIS)
  • projects must not involve behind the meter elements.

Industry context

Large-scale solar PV (defined as greater than 5MW) remains in its infancy in Australia with only 4 projects commissioned and a further 4 under construction.

When the projects currently under construction are complete, installed capacity of large-scale PV will total 262 MW. This is well behind the installed capacity of comparable international markets.

ARENA has observed significant cost reduction in large-scale solar PV over the past few years and expects this to continue due to a combination of international and local improvements.

The cost trajectory of large-scale solar PV is expected to see the technology become competitive without additional support within the medium term.

The competitive round is expected to be critical in supporting this outcome by helping to close the current cost gap that exists between large-scale solar PV and other commercially competitive forms of power generation, including wind energy.

More information

Guidance documents

Media releases

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