Construction has commenced on the 10MW Northam solar project in Western Australia.
The project is being developed by Carnegie Clean Energy in partnership with Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) and Bookitja.
It is the largest solar project Carnegie has developed and is the first utility renewable energy project to be developed on a merchant basis in Western Australia, which means the power is not contracted under a long-term offtake agreement.
The partnership with IBA and Bookitja is also significant as it is the first time the joint venture has invested in renewable energy.
“IBA is very excited to be getting behind this project and helping to bring it to life as it is one of the first large-scale solar projects in the country with Indigenous ownership,” IBA chair Eddie Fry said.
The milestone was marked with a sod-turning ceremony attended by the WA Treasurer and Minister for Finance, Energy and Aboriginal Affairs Ben Wyatt.
“Projects such as the Northam Solar Farm illustrate the great potential we have in Western Australia to take advantage of the technological advances in the energy sector,” Mr Wyatt said.
“We can create regional opportunities built around cleaner, cheaper renewable power.
“This project is particularly exciting because of the opportunities it will provide to local Aboriginal people and businesses as a result of the joint venture.”
The project is being delivered by the EMC/Lendlease Services joint venture, with engineering, construction and procurement underway, and will complete in the second half of 2018, when it will also begin selling power into the Western Australian grid.
“The Northam Solar Farm has been developed as a template for future projects where Carnegie receives value from multiple revenue streams including electricity sales and project construction, operating and maintenance,” Carnegie Clean Energy managing director Dr Michael Ottaviano said.
The project is expected to generate enough power for 3000 households in the next 25 years.