Australia’s second largest solar farm has opened

Australia’s second largest solar farm and the first with sun-tracking technology has opened in New South Wales.

The 56 megawatt (MW) Moree Solar Farm uses a horizontal single-axis tracking system, which allows solar panels to follow the sun throughout the day to maximise the farm’s energy output.

Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin said the opening of the plant highlights the NSW Government’s commitment to the growth of the renewable energy sector.

“Under this government’s watch over the past six years, the share of renewable energy generation in NSW’s supply mix has more than doubled,” Mr Harwin said.

“This solar farm will generate enough clean energy to power 15,000 average NSW homes each year, which is a welcome boost for our state’s energy security.

“The project cements NSW’s national leadership in large-scale solar, with 210MW between Moree, Broken Hill and the state’s largest solar farm in Nyngan.

“While we currently have a surplus of supply, the government won’t be complacent and wants to see more investment across the state.

“Renewables played an important role during the state’s heatwave on February 10. At the time of peak demand they provided 27 per cent of NSW’s total energy generation.”

The solar farm, developed by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, will help deliver more affordable, reliable and clean power, while avoiding around 95,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions – the equivalent produced by approximately 21,000 cars on our roads each year.

“The solar farm has already provided economic benefits for the area, including some 150 jobs during construction and permanent jobs in operation,” Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy and Northern NSW Ben Franklin said.

Moree Solar Farm received $101.7 million in funding support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and a debt finance commitment of $46 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

In March 2016, FRV signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with Origin Energy Limited (Origin) which covers 100 per cent of the output and all Renewable Energy Certificates generated by the solar farm.