$350 million to kick start large-scale solar projects

At least four, and as many as 10, new large-scale solar farms will be built across Australia with the help of $350 million in new funding initiatives by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The announcement marked the start of ARENA’s large-scale solar competitive round, a $100 million program that is seeking bids from major solar PV project proponents for grants of up to $30 million. Projects must have a minimum generation capacity of 5MW.

The CEFC has announced a complementary $250 million large-scale solar financing program, which will support projects with loan requirements of $15 million or more, targeted at unlocking additional private sector investment in the large-scale solar sector.

The CEFC financing initiative will provide successful ARENA grant recipients with the opportunity to secure long-term debt finance to support their projects.

The funding round aims to support the development of a further 200MW of additional large-scale solar capacity in Australia. Currently around 211MW in solar capacity is being created at AGL’s twin solar farms in Broken Hill and Nyngan, and at the Moree Solar Farm. Smaller farms in Royalla (ACT) and Greenough River (WA) together have 30MW of capacity.

“The funding round is about unlocking that capability to deploy large-scale solar farms across the nation. This will drive further innovation in the sector and create efficiencies in Australia’s solar PV supply chains,” ARENA chief executive officer Ivor Frischknecht said.