Neoen completes Australia’s largest solar project

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EnergyAustralia will take 70% of the solar farm’s energy output. The remainder will be sold directly to the market. Credit: Neoen

French renewable energy firm Neoen has started commercial operation at its 189MW Coleambally Solar Farm in New South Wales, Australia.

Neoen has claimed that its wholly-owned project is producing the highest energy output of any solar farm in the country’s National Electricity Market at present.

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. Under this agreement, EnergyAustralia will take 70% of the solar farm’s energy output. The remainder will be sold directly to the market.

The project includes 567,800 solar modules and it will produce more than 390,000MWh of renewable energy per annum, which is enough to power more than 65,000 New South Wales households.

Site preparations began in January 2018, with full construction and connection completed between March and September 2018. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), German Landesbank NORD/LB, German development bank KfW Ipex supported the project while Bouygues Construction Australia performed EPC services.

During construction, almost 400 jobs were created for the Riverina area.

Although it is currently the largest PV project in Australia, it will soon be surpassed by the 275MW Bungala solar farm in South Australia that is owned by a joint venture between Enel Green Power and Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

Franck Woitiez, MD for Neoen Australia, said: “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.”

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.”

Neoen is looking to raise in excess of €620 million when it floats on the Paris stock exchange. Its Hornsdale wind farm paired with Tesla's 100MW/129MWh battery installation made headlines around the world in 2017 and after completion earlier this year.

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