CEFC investments in large-scale solar are accelerating the development of more than 1.3 GW of renewable generation capacity across NSW, Queensland, Victoria and WA. An example of the CEFC’s support for the industry and the expansion of the emerging solar generation belt in regional NSW can be seen in its commitment of $30 million in debt finance to what will be the state’s largest solar farm. Located 70 km south of Griffith, the 150 MW (AC) Coleambally Solar Farm being developed by Neoen Australia will house 565,000 solar panels on 550 hectares.
The solar farm will generate approximately 380,000 MWh of clean, renewable electricity into the national power grid each year, abating about 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually (equivalent to removing 90,000 cars or planting 530,000 trees) and making a major contribution to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction. It is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 50,000 homes, and has contracted 70 per cent of its output to EnergyAustralia.
The Coleambally site was chosen after a feasibility assessment confirmed there was an abundant solar resource at the location, which also boasts an existing electricity substation with grid connection capacity. Up to 300 workers are likely to be employed during the construction phase, which is expected to take around nine months from early 2018.
Electricity generated from the solar farm will be transmitted via underground cabling or overhead transmission (132kV) to the national electricity grid. Power generated from the Coleambally Solar Farm will flow into the national interconnected network.
Despite its relatively low penetration of large-scale solar generation, NSW has the largest electricity demand in Australia, however, during the past 12 months, the CEFC has worked with developer Neoen Australia to accelerate large-scale solar capacity in regional NSW, providing debt finance for four projects that will deliver an additional 26 0MW (AC) of renewable energy capacity.
“We are pleased to support Neoen’s investments in the construction of new solar generation in New South Wales. As well as driving lower emissions and regional employment, these investments are delivering renewable energy to large population centres,” CEFC Large-Scale solar lead Monique Miller said.
The CEFC has provided a further $150 million in debt finance to Neoen solar farm developments in Dubbo, Griffith and Parkes. The Griffith and Parkes solar farm projects are now fully built and are undergoing commissioning, exporting increasing amount of renewable electricity into the national electricity grid as commissioning progresses. Full-scale commercial operation is expected prior to the end of February.
Neoen Australia’s Head of Solar Development Chris Leonard thanked the CEFC and other financiers NORD/LB and KfW Ipex for their commitment to Australia’s clean energy future and Australia’s renewable energy sector.