Breaking ground on big solar in Moree

Right to left: Fotowatio Renewable Ventures chair Bill Calcraft; ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht; Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton; Moree Plains Shire Council Mayor Katerina Humphries; NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy Leslie Williams; State MLA for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall; and Green Light Renewable Services Project Manager Pedro Fernandez

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) has officially started constructing the 70MW Moree Solar Farm in regional New South Wales.

Once completed, the plant will be one of the largest solar farms in Australia and generate enough energy to supply 15,000 average homes. It will also deliver an estimated 130 local jobs during the construction phase throughout 2014–2016.

In a first for large-scale solar in Australia, the plant uses a single-axis horizontal tracking system, where panels continually follow the sun across the sky to maximise power output.

FRV Australian country manager Andrea Fontana said the RET was critical in bringing the project to fruition and the company hoped it will be kept unchanged to ensure the ongoing success of the farm.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is supporting the $164 million project with $101 million in funding. When operational, the project will abate an estimated 95,000 tonnes of carbon pollution each year.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht joined Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, State MLA for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy Leslie Williams MLA and Moree Plains Shire Council Mayor Katrina Humphries to break ground on the project in November.

Mr Frischknecht said the occasion marked the fruition of many years of dedication and hard work.

“This project is a great example of what can be achieved when a local community, industry and all levels of government work together. It stands to advance solar technology and contribute to the energy mix of tomorrow,” he said.

“The knowledge gained through the construction and operation of these power stations will help overcome first-mover disadvantage and allow large scale solar play a greater role in Australia’s electricity markets.”

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