All 12 ARENA-backed solar farms reach financial close
Source: ARENA (arena.gov.au)
All 12 projects supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of its large-scale solar competitive round have now reached financial close, the agency said today.
The 20-MW White Rock solar farm in New South Wales was the final project to achieve financial close. The developer, Chinese wind turbine maker Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology (HKG:2208), announced the milestone last week.
ARENA is providing almost AUD 90 million (USD 66m/EUR 61m) of grant funding to the 12 projects, which will triple Australia's big solar capacity by adding some 490 MW. Eight of the projects are also getting a total of AUD 320 million in debt finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
Construction has already started on nine plants, with work on the remaining three to begin soon. The facilities are expected to be completed between late-2017 and mid-2018.
"From zero to more than 20 plants in five years, Australia’s large-scale solar industry has grown at a tremendous pace thanks to concerted efforts by ARENA and the CEFC," said ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht. "We know of at least six new plants that are being developed without any ARENA grant funding support," Frischknecht added.
According to the announcement, the large-scale solar round has led to utility-scale solar becoming as cheap as wind energy at least five years earlier than expected.