CEFC commits more than $370m to 10 projects

CSIRO, renewables clean energy council, CEC

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has announced finance for its tenth project through its Large-Scale Solar Program, bringing its total program investment commitments to more than $370 million.

The investments have accelerated projects with a total estimated project value of $900 million and a total generating capacity of more than 400MW.

Large-Scale Solar Program lead Gloria Chan said the program represents the single largest debt financing commitment to the solar sector to date.

“Since our program’s launch in September 2015, the large-scale solar sector has transformed,” Ms Chan said.

“Solar has become a progressively cost-competitive energy source and we are now at the tipping point of seeing Australian utility-scale solar projects becoming commercially viable without grant funding.

“Our finance has played a significant role in this transformation, given that in 2012 there was only 18MW of installed capacity and it’s estimated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that there will be around 1000MW installed by the end of 2018.

“There’s been a strong influx of developers into the sector and an increasing investment appetite from a widening base of institutional investors, which has helped fuel the growth in solar capacity.

“Our debt finance has helped developers secure the backing they need and has helped investors find the right level of comfort to invest, so that projects can be constructed sooner.”

Highlights of the Large Scale Solar Program include a finance commitment to Victoria’s first solar farm at Gannawarra; finance for three major projects in regional NSW; the repurposing of the Collinsville Power Station site in Queensland as a solar farm; and finance for Kidston Solar Farm.

“Going forward, the CEFC remains committed to financing more large-scale solar projects where we are needed, and we’re particularly keen to see projects that support grid stability,” Ms Chan said.

“We’re also looking at hybrid projects that combine solar with other technologies in a way that promotes more effective clean energy outcomes.”

The CEFC’s commitment of $60 million to RATCH-Australia Corporation, announced today, will help redevelop the disused coal-fired power station at Collinsville as a 42.5MW (AC) solar farm that is expected to generate enough energy to power 15,000 homes.

The $100 million project is also receiving $9.5 million funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).