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Australian renewable energy firm Epuron has acquired the 1MW Uterne PV plant — which is said to be Australia’s largest tracking solar power plant — from US PV manufacturer SunPower Corporation. The acquisition was financed by Australian financial services company Commonwealth Bank, making it the country’s first major bank to support a solar project of this size.
"Epuron's acquisition of Uterne underscores the bankability of SunPower's industry-leading, high efficiency technology, decades of proven experience and more than 2,500MW deployed globally," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions. "This solar power plant has exceeded reliability and energy production expectations since it was commissioned in June 2011, and will reliably generate power and return on investment for the life of the system."
The Uterne plant, which is currently operating in Alice Springs, was developed by SunPower with support from utility firm Power and Water Corporation. The project was funded by the Australian government as part of its Solar Cities programme.
The plant utilizes SunPower PV modules which are installed on the SunPower T20 Tracker, which positions the panels so that they follow the sun during the day. In doing so, the modules are able to produce 30% more energy compared with conventional fixed-tilt installations, according to the company.
Power produced from the plant is sold to Power and Water Corporation under a power purchase agreement at a guaranteed rate over a 20-year period.
Commenting on the acquisition, Epuron’s executive director Andrew Durran said, "The acquisition of Uterne further demonstrates Epuron's commitment to a growing solar portfolio in the Northern Territory. The project is a great addition to our 1MW remote TKLN Solar project, making Epuron one of the largest solar project owners and asset managers in Australia. Epuron is especially pleased to be able to project finance the acquisition through CBA, a first for a project of this size in Australia."