Hundreds of megawatts of large-scale solar projects in Australia are competing for AUD 350 million (USD 248.5m/EUR 233.4m) in grants and loans from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corp (CEFC).
ARENA said Tuesday its AUD-100-million large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) competitive round had attracted applications from 2,800 MW of projects. At the same time, projects with a combined capacity of over 2,000 MW will be competing for long-term debt finance from CEFC under the latter’s AUD-250-million solar financing programme.
GRANTS FROM ARENA
As announced in September, ARENA is offering grants of up to AUD 30 million per project for solar schemes bigger than 5 MW. Applicants will need to meet an AUD 135/MWh levelised cost of energy (LCOE) threshold.
The agency got 77 eligible expressions of interest (EoI) seeking approximately AUD 1.1 billion in ARENA funding for projects in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Together, these developments represent an investment of more than AUD 5.5 billion.
ARENA expects the full application stage to start by December 16 and end on June 15, 2016.
Projects bigger than 10 MW have been invited to apply for fixed-rate long-term debt finance from CEFC. The latter is offering loans of at least AUD 15 million per project. Over 40 domestic and international project developers have submitted EoIs for projects of between 15 MW and 200 MW, the CEFC said yesterday.
CEFC financing is being sought for 980 MW of solar power projects in Queensland, 620 MW in New South Wales, 220 MW in South Australia, 100 MW in Western Australia and 135 MW in Victoria.
ARENA and the CEFC are now examining the proposals and working with the proponents to determine whether finance from one or both entities is suitable.
“We are very encouraged by the number and quality of proposals. Australia is uniquely placed to meet more of its energy needs from solar power, and the price of solar is falling as technologies improve and developers gain more experience in this area,” commented CEFC CEO Oliver Yates. He noted that if all these projects proceeded to development, Australia’s large-scale solar capacity will jump 10-fold.
(AUD 1 = USD 0.710/EUR 0.667)
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