The Turnbull Government’s $350 million commitment for new large-scale solar projects has generated significant interest in the sector with high-quality proposals now set to advance to the next stage.
Twenty-two (22) eligible expressions of interest (EOIs) received by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for its $100 million large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) competitive round have been short-listed and invited to submit full applications for consideration.
The short-listed proposals were chosen from a very strong field demonstrating Australia is ready to invest in utility-scale renewable energy options suited to the 21st century.
The 22 EOIs are seeking $332 million for projects totalling $1.68 billion to deploy large-scale solar farms in Queensland (10), New South Wales (8), Victoria (2), South Australia (1) and Western Australia (1).
Although Australia leads the world in rooftop solar PV and costs have dropped significantly in recent years, large-scale solar in Australia is lagging behind with higher supply chain costs than other comparable countries and only 240 megawatts (MW) total large-scale generation capacity.
ARENA’s large-scale solar competitive round is designed to support the development of approximately 200 MW of large-scale solar capacity and reduce costs.
An additional 200 MW would significantly boost Australia’s large-scale capacity, with the combined 440 MW total of large-scale solar able to generate up to 860,000 MWh of electricity each year, enough to power 120,000 average Australian homes.
The short-listed projects set to progress to the next stage of ARENA’s funding round have a total capacity of 766 MW.
A number of those short-listed are seeking project finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) under its $250 million large-scale solar program, which offers successful ARENA grant recipients the opportunity to secure long-term debt finance to progress their projects.
Further information is available online: http://arena.gov.au/programmes/advancing-renewables-programme/large-scale-solar-pv/