Origin commits to another chunk of solar

Origin Energy has agreed to purchase the output from a new Queensland solar farm, underwriting a proposed 100MW solar farm to be built by a Spanish company in the state’s north.

The 300ha Clare Solar Farm in northern Queensland is owned by Spain’s Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), which also owns the 56MW Moree Solar Farm in Northern New South Wales. It is also in the early stages of developing its own solar farm in south-east Queensland, for which it has applied for government funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

The deal will see Origin buy all of the output and all the large-scale renewable energy certificates generated by the farm, 35km west of Ayr, with first electricity expected to be generated next year. Origin will buy all of the output until 2030.

Origin is one of the biggest liable parties under the country’s 2020 Renewable Energy Target regulations, which requires it to buy an increasing proportion of renewable energy for its electricity retailing activities.

The move confirms renewed interest in purchasing renewable energy, after the revision of the 2020 Renewable Energy Target regulations last year.

Origin’s head of energy markets Frank Calabria said the cost of solar is falling rapidly compared to other renewable resources.

“Now is the ideal time to invest in solar and we have been actively looking for opportunities to diversify and add more renewable energy to our portfolio,” he said in a statement.