The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced $101.7 million of support for Moree Solar Farm, which upon completion will be one of the largest solar plants in Australia.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht congratulated renewable energy company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) who are set to begin construction on the project shortly.
“Moree Solar Farm will be the first large-scale solar plant in Australia to use a single-axis horizontal tracking system, where panels follow the sun across the sky to capture sunlight and maximise power output,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“The 56MWac (70MWp) farm will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 15,000 average New South Wales homes.”
Mr Frischknecht said the Moree community would benefit from the project and had been keen supporters, along with the Moree Plains Shire Council, for several years.
“The $164 million Moree Solar Farm will benefit the local economy and will also deliver an estimated 130 local jobs during the construction phase over 2014–2016.
“More than 50 locations around Australia were investigated before the developers selected the site 10 kilometres out of Moree in NSW’s northern wheat belt, an area known as ‘big sky country’.
“The location benefits from high levels of solar radiation and also allows the solar farm to connect to the national electricity grid.”
Mr Frischknecht said the project, which is also being supported by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, would aim to demonstrate that large-scale solar power plants can be constructed and operated within Australia’s major electricity grids.
“ARENA will work with FRV to share the valuable knowledge gained in delivering the Moree Solar Farm with the rest of the industry,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“We recognise reducing early mover disadvantage and supporting the transfer of information will help advance development of more utility scale solar plants in Australia.”
Moree Solar Farm is a solar flagship project ARENA inherited when it was established in July 2012. Last week another former flagship project supported by ARENA reached a major milestone when the first of approximately 1.35 million panels were installed at AGL’s large-scale solar plant in Nyngan, NSW.
FRV is a leading global solar development company with approximately 3GW of active project development in the emerging solar markets including Australia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Such markets are primarily characterised by the fact that solar power generation can be provided at cost less than the marginal cost of power and/or have broad support for the development of solar power.
Since 2006, the management team has completed the construction, operation, maintenance and financing of over 450 MW of photovoltaic and CSP solar energy plants. Such projects represent more than $2 billion in total financings with more than 20 leading banks.
Denham Capital, an energy and resources focused private equity firm with more than $7.9 billion in invested and committed funds, is a majority shareholder in FRV.