Large-scale solar round attracts serious interest

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has received 77 eligible expressions of interest (EOIs) for its $100 million large-scale solar PV competitive round, which was announced in September.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the round, which was designed to bring down costs through the deployment of 200MW of large-scale solar PV, had generated strong interest from the sector.

“The level of interest in the ARENA large-scale solar PV competitive round exceeded our expectations. It sends a strong signal the sector is serious about deploying large-scale solar and making the most of Australia’s enviable natural solar advantage,” he said.

“We received 77 eligible EOIs seeking approximately $1.1 billion in ARENA funding for projects in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, totalling more than $5.5 billion. The projects represent a total capacity of 2.8GW, which is more than 10 times Australia’s existing large-scale solar capacity.

“By all indications, the funding round is on track to significantly boost large-scale deployment across Australia, driving further innovation in the sector and creating efficiencies in Australia’s solar photovoltaic supply chains.”

Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt said the $100 million large scale solar round was set to almost double Australia’s large-scale capacity from 240MW to around 440MW.

ARENA is in the process of assessing EOIs and expects to select and invite highest merit applications to proceed to the full application stage by mid December.

The due date for full applications is 15 June, 2016 to allow sufficient time to advance approvals, financing and other key contractual arrangements.