26 Nov 2018
Neoen, a French renewable energy firm, has begun commercial operation at its 189MW Coleambally Solar Farm in New South Wales, Australia – asserting that its project is currently responsible for producing the highest energy output of any solar farm in the country’s National Electricity Market.
PVTECH reports that “the 550-hectare PV system is connected to TransGrid’s high voltage transmission network and has a 12-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with utility EnergyAustralia.”
The deal stipulates that EnergyAustralia will retain 70% of the solar farm’s energy output, while the remaining 30% will be put up for sale on the market.
The project, comprising of 567,800 solar modules, will produce enough renewable energy (390,000MWh per annum) to power more than 65,000 New South Wales households.
Site preparations were initiated in January this year and full construction was completed between March and September 2018 – with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), German Landesbank NORD/LB, German development bank KfW Ipex supporting the project. This resulting in almost 400 jobs being created for the Riverina area.
Despite this being the largest PV project in the country at the moment, it will soon pass its title to the 275MW Bungala solar farm in South Australia, which is under the ownership of Enel Green Power and Dutch Infrastructure Fund.
“Coleambally Solar Farm is an example of the projects that will underpin a modern energy system in Australia. Through the course of its development, we have received enthusiastic response at the regional and state level,” said Franck Woitiez, MD for Neoen Australia.
Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s Chairman and CEO, added: "We are very proud to be bringing into service this new power plant, which is a perfect illustration of our wide-ranging expertise: our ability to work on both wind and large-scale solar projects in Australia, to negotiate purchase agreements bilaterally with utilities, and to sell part of our production in the spot market now that grid parity has been achieved.”