Commercial, Renewables, Solar, Solar

Australia’s second biggest solar farm comes online

The 56 MW Moree Solar Farm in northern New South Wales has started feeding renewable electricity into the grid, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) announced today.

Developed by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), it is Australia’s first utility-scale facility to feature single-axis tracking technology and the largest to use polycrystalline PV panels.

The solar farm is second in capacity only to AGL’s 102 MW Nyngan plant, and has the capacity to generate enough electricity to power 15,000 average homes.

FRV CEO Rafael Benjumea hailed the plant’s first generation as a great achievement, and said that FRV believes there is strong market support for large-scale solar in Australia.

“FRV is looking forward to celebrating first generation from some of our other developed sites in the coming years,” he said.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said large-scale solar in Australia was making solid headway towards reaching commercial maturity.

“In the last six months we’ve seen more than 210 MW from ARENA-supported solar farms start feeding into the grid,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“The Nyngan, Broken Hill and Moree solar farms, along with approximately 200 MW set to be built through ARENA’s $100 million large-scale solar round, will help push costs down by developing local supply chains, increasing financier confidence and advancing innovative renewable technologies.

“The various projects underway and in the pipeline clearly demonstrate there are a range of technology pathways to success with big solar. In the case of Moree Solar Farm, single-axis tracking is being used to capture more of the sun’s energy as it moves across the sky.”

CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said the Moree Solar Farm was demonstrating how solar was set to play a major role in transforming Australia’s energy future while diversifying our regional economy.

“The Moree Solar Farm also demonstrated how innovative merchant energy based financing can be used to finance large-scale renewable energy projects in Australia,” Mr Yates said.

ARENA is providing $101.7 million in funding to Moree Solar Farm, while the CEFC has provided a debt finance commitment of $46 million.

Mr Yates said the CEFC would continue to work closely with ARENA to augment the deployment of emerging energy technologies across Australia.

Moree Solar Farm is scheduled for full completion next month.

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