The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Clean Energy Finance Corporation recently welcomed the news that the Moree Solar Farm in Northern New South Wales had successfully achieved first generation.Moree Solar Farm, developed by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), is now feeding 56 MW of renewable solar energy into the National Electricity Market, enough to power 15,000 average homes.FRV CEO Rafael Benjumea said the company was very proud to have delivered the first utility scale single axis tracking and largest polycrystalline solar farm in Australia on time and on budget.
“First generation at the plant is a great achievement and represents more than six years of continued work from our Australian office through the development, financing and construction activities,” Mr Benjumea said.“FRV believes there is strong market support for large-scale solar in Australia and is looking forward to celebrating first generation from some of our other developed sites in the coming years.”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 and powering Australian homes and businesses with renewable energy,” 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 that by taking an abundant natural renewable resource and harnessing it to provide clean energy for our cities, 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.“The CEFC is pleased to see that each project built is more efficient and cost effective than the last and that this trend is continuing in Australia and around the world. As prices continue to fall, Australia will be able to tap this sustainable competitive resource to power the economy.”
The project was awarded 2014 Asia Pacific Solar Transaction of the Year by IJ Global, an award which recognises excellence, achievement and innovation in energy and infrastructure finance.Mr Yates said the CEFC would continue to work closely with ARENA to augment the deployment of emerging energy technologies across Australia.ARENA is providing $101.7 million funding support to Moree Solar Farm as well as driving knowledge sharing about the lessons learned during planning, design and construction. The CEFC has provided a debt finance commitment of $46 million.More than three quarters of the 150 jobs created since construction commenced in March 2015 have been taken up by local workers. During the ongoing operation of the project there will be up to five full time employees at the Moree Solar Farm.