Sunraysia Solar Farm reaches financial close

Aerial shot of solar fam (lightsource bp)
Image: Shutterstock

Maoneng Australia has reached financial close for its 255MW Sunraysia Solar Farm in New South Wales.

The project, located near Balranald in western NSW, will be the largest solar farm in Australia and will be one of the largest solar farms in the world upon completion.

It anticipated to generate approximately 530,000MWh of electricity per year, with the energy transmitted via Transgrid transmission lines throughout NSW and Victoria.

The solar farm is underpinned by two world-class power purchase agreements (PPAs) under which UNSW Sydney and AGL Energy (AGL) purchase energy over 15 years.

“The 15-year solar supply agreement with UNSW is the first of its kind in Australia – bringing together a retailer, developer and corporate,” Maoneng director of project finance Kevin Chen said.

“We are honoured to allow UNSW to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020 and look forward to our long-term partnership.”

UNSW Sydney president Professor Ian Jacobs said the solar PPA was crucial to the university realising its goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020.

“This milestone brings UNSW Sydney a major step towards receiving emissions free electricity as part of this landmark initiative,” Professor Jacobs said.

Maoneng entered into a long-term equity partnership with John Laing for the investment and development of the Sunraysia Solar Farm.

In addition, the project has secured debt financing from Nord L/B, ING, Mizuho, Bank of China and National Australia Bank (NAB).

Decmil has been appointed as the head contractor for the project under an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract and will also undertake the project’s operations and maintenance when the solar farm is in operation.

“They have been working with us for almost a year, in front end engineering and design, preparatory and planning work, including obtaining the approval for a construction camp to cater for the large workforce that is required to build this solar farm,” Maoneng group vice president Qiao Nan Han said.

“We are looking forward to a smooth and well-planned construction phase as we continue to have the support from our key suppliers including Jinko, Schneider and NEXTracker.”

The solar farm will connect into TransGrid’s 220kV substation where substation, transmission and network augmentation work will be conducted by TransGrid through a Build Own Operate and Maintain (BOOM) model.

“The Sunraysia Solar Farm is a very exciting development for TransGrid – over the 18 months TransGrid has connected more than 1GW of renewable energy to the NEM, and we have contracts in place to connect at least that much again this financial year,” TransGrid business growth executive manager Richard Lowe said.

“This connection project specifically demonstrates the significant benefits TransGrid can deliver for renewable energy project developers, through a comprehensive build, own, operate and maintain solution for connection services for a 30-year term.”

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