The largest solar energy project in the southern hemisphere is underway in Australia after ARENA reached financial close with AGL on a $450 million, 155 megawatt solar photovoltaic project.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said ARENA is providing $166.7 million to deploy solar on the largest scale Australia has seen, which will undoubtedly send a positive signal to the market.
Mr Frischknecht said the project will provide invaluable knowledge in an Australian context and help build investor confidence, paving the way for more solar energy plants to be built across the country.
“The project is being built across two sites, Nyngan and Broken Hill, powering 50,000 homes with renewable energy and will build domestic large scale solar capacity and capability in two regional communities through 450 jobs being created during construction,” Mr Frischknect said.
Mr Frischknecht said ARENA’s investment aims to reduce the risks of the project, drive down the cost of future projects by demonstrating success to investors and industry alike, and continue to build unique Australian know-how.
“ARENA has negotiated a funding arrangement that reduces the project risk by covering the gap between the market and the development, critical to overcoming challenges to the deployment of renewable energy in Australia,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“If the power plants generate more revenue than expected by AGL, ARENA is able to recoup its investment to maximise government funding for other renewable energy projects in Australia.
“This project is an example of ARENA delivering on its vision to catalyse the development and deployment of renewable energy, helping to drive Australia’s clean energy future with the environmental and economic benefits that brings.”
Project partners include the NSW Government (co-funder), First Solar (engineering, procurement and construction services) and research partners, the University of NSW and the University of Queensland.