Financing largest solar farm in NSW

Monday, 29 January, 2018

Financing largest solar farm in NSW

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has committed $30 million in debt finance to the Coleambally Solar Farm, set to be the largest solar farm in NSW. Commissioned by renewable energy firm Neoen Australia, the 189 MWp project has now reached financial close.

The Coleambally Solar Farm site is located in the Riverina region of NSW, 5 km north-east of Coleambally and 70 km south of Griffith. The 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.

Consisting of about 565,000 solar panels on 550 ha of land, the farm will be connected to TransGrid’s high-voltage transmission network, which sits at the centre of the national electricity grid. TransGrid will provide connection services under a 25-year agreement.

Once completed, the farm will have an annual generation of 390,000 MWh of emissions-free, renewable energy, equivalent to the consumption of more than 65,000 average NSW households based on average annual usage of 5.9 MWh. EnergyAustralia has committed to buy 100 MW, or 70%, of energy from the solar farm through a 12-year power purchase agreement.

“Our project and finance teams have worked very closely to reach financial close for the Coleambally solar farm in a record time, only a year after Neoen selected the site,” said Franck Woitiez, managing director of Neoen Australia. “We are proud of this achievement and excited to be working together with all our stakeholders to bring more clean energy to the country.”

The development is part of a growing stable of NSW solar projects developed by Neoen with CEFC finance. During the past 12 months, the CEFC has worked with Neoen to accelerate large-scale solar capacity in regional NSW, providing debt finance for four projects that will deliver an additional 260 MW (AC) of renewable energy capacity.

“We are pleased to support Neoen’s investments in the construction of new solar generation in NSW,” said CEFC Large-Scale Solar Lead Monique Miller. “As well as driving lower emissions and regional employment, these investments are delivering renewable energy to large population centres.”

Construction on the Coleambally Solar Farm is set to begin this month. Up to 300 workers are likely to be employed during the nine-month construction phase, with a further seven ongoing operational roles expected to be filled once construction concludes.

Image caption: Drone footage of the Coleambally Solar Farm site.

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