The Impact Investment Group’s (IIG) Williamsdale Solar Farm will be officially opened today by ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury, MLA. It is located just inside the ACT border with NSW, about 20km south of Canberra.
The Williamsdale Solar Farm is expected to power about 3,000 ACT homes and will help the territory reach its target of sourcing 100% renewable electricity by 2020. It is a key asset in IIG’s Solar Income Fund, which aims to provide investors a 10% annual return.
Minister Rattenbury said, “The clean power generated by Williamsdale Solar Farm takes us another significant step towards achieving our target of 100% renewable electricity by 2020 in the ACT. Williamsdale Solar Farm is now the fourth large-scale solar farm built in the ACT. As with the other projects, the Williamsdale Solar Farm also brings many other economic and research benefits to the region. The solar farm’s developer IIG has offered student tours for a number of the ACT’s tertiary institutions, which will help to inspire the engineers and energy start-ups of tomorrow.”
IIG head of renewable energy infrastructure Lane Crockett remarked, “The smartest investors and developers in the country aren’t trying to eke another few years out of old unreliable, polluting coal-fired infrastructure. They are building the clean generators that will deliver reliable electricity, crucial environmental benefits, health benefits and attractive financial returns. Meanwhile, our investors have confidence knowing that the ACT government has committed to buying the farm’s electricity for 20 years.”
The Williamsdale Solar Farm has almost 36,000 photovoltaic panels mounted on a single-axis tracking system that keeps them facing the sun as it moves through the day. It improves panel efficiency by up to 30%. IIG has calculated that the Williamsdale Solar Farm should abate about 17,250 tonnes of CO2-e emissions a year.
IIG’s Solar Income Fund was launched in August 2016 with the capital raised in less than a week.
Future Super, Australia’s first 100% fossil fuel free super fund, is a key investor in IIG’s Solar Income Fund.
Future Super managing director Simon Sheikh said, “The 20-year power purchase agreement will provide a reliable, long-term income stream for the Future Super portfolio and other investors in the IIG Solar Income Fund. Our investment demonstrates the important role superannuation can play in upgrading Australia’s grid to 100% renewable energy.”
IIG has also developed a pipeline of new solar farms in preparation for launching a second solar energy investment fund later in the financial year.