First Solar announced that the 48.5MW Manildra Solar Farm located one kilometer east of Manildra in regional NSW has reached financial close.
The ARENA-backed project, which will utilize approximately 466,000 First Solar thin-film photovoltaic modules and single-axis tracking technology, will produce more than 120,000 megawatt-hours of electricity in its first year of operation, taking First Solar’s installed capacity in Australia to more than 400MWAC.
Jack Curtis, First Solar’s Regional Manager of Asia Pacific, said the company has entered into a 13-year power purchase agreement with EnergyAustralia for the generated electricity and large-scale generation certificates.
“Today’s milestone is a testament to the ability and experience of First Solar’s development and delivery team, and we congratulate ARENA and EnergyAustralia on their commitment to commercially viable projects,” Mr Curtis said.
“We have witnessed unprecedented cost reductions in large-scale solar in recent years. As the appetite for this asset class continues to grow, timely and reliable project delivery will be the strongest driver of future cost reductions, cementing solar as a competitive energy source in Australia.”
EnrgyAustralia Managing Director Catherine Tanna said the Farm will benefit directly from existing solar supply chains and operations and maintenance hubs, providing significant economic benefits to the region through the creation of direct and indirect jobs.
“Customers rightly expect access to reliable, affordable and cleaner supplies of energy, which means the industry needs to evolve,” she added.
“The Manildra Solar Farm is a great example of the projects that will underpin the future of energy in Australia, and we’re proud to be partnering with First Solar to bring it to market.”
First Solar also announced the appointment of RCR O’Donnell Griffin for the engineering, procurement and construction of the project, which is scheduled to commence in the first half of 2017. The contract is valued at $85 million.
Once complete, the project is expected to produce enough solar energy for approximately 14,000 average NSW homes.