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ARENA and CEFC announce combined $350m investment in solar power

September 10, 2015 • Sustainability

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will invest $350 million in solar power for the construction of 10 new large-scale power plants in Australia.

ARENA announced a $100 million programme offering grants of up to $30 million for solar projects with a minimum generation capacity of 5 MW (AC), while the CEFC announced a complementary $250 million large-scale solar financing programme.

“Australia has huge natural advantages in this area: more sun than almost anywhere else and a solar R&D sector that is the envy of the world. The funding round is about unlocking that capability to deploy large-scale solar farms across the nation. This will drive further innovation in the sector and create efficiencies in Australia’s solar PV supply chains,” said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht .

“While the costs of large-scale solar PV are decreasing, this financing boost will help Australian projects move down the cost curve, in line with international trends. When fully deployed, the CEFC finance will be the single largest debt financing commitment to the Australian large-scale solar sector. The CEFC’s provision of fixed-rate longer-dated senior debt finance is designed to directly support the network of financiers, project suppliers and developers in the delivery of additional large-scale solar in Australia,” added CEFC CEO Oliver Yates.

CEFC Chief Investment Officer Ted Dow said the CEFC’s $250 million program will help reduce the cost of solar development and further strengthen Australian industries in the solar supply chain.

“The CEFC finance will be available over a longer term, at a fixed rate. We see this as critical to providing added certainty and confidence to developers and producers in the large scale solar supply chain, which is still developing in Australia. The CEFC finance will be available for projects which have power purchase agreements, as well as those proposing to take some merchant risk,” Mr Dow said.

“CEFC finance is currently supporting the development of about a third of the total 300MW of large scale solar currently installed or under construction in Australia.  This additional funding is a significant commitment from the CEFC, reflecting our focus on building Australia’s expertise in solar. When fully deployed, this $250 million program will be the single largest debt financing commitment to the large-scale solar sector to date.”

Applications for funding for large-scale solar projects from ARENA and finance from the CEFC open this month.

Details on the ARENA grants are available here, and for the CEFC loans here.

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