ACT selects 22 proposals for large-scale solar power reverse-auction Feed-in Tariff

The Australian Capital Territory government has selected 22 large-scale commercial solar power projects by 10 developers to move ahead to the final stage of consideration under the territory’s reverse auction feed-in tariff program. The 22 shortlisted projects will be able to submit their final bids to supply the ACT with solar power in June 2012. A total of 49 project proposals were submitted during the prequalification assessment stage of the program. The balance of the proposals will have until ‘early 2013’ to complete and submit their bids.

The 22 projects represent 148 megawatts (MW) of capacity. The first round of the ACT reverse-auction feed-in tariff will allow for a total capacity of 40MW, so a number of the ‘fast track’ applicants will be culled before a determination of the ‘winners’ is made.

The ACT initiative is widely viewed as the most innovative approach to the subsidisation of large-scale solar power in Australia. Although the Federal Government’s Solar Flagships program sets out to facilitate the development of larger projects (150MW-250MW), its ‘grant-based’ funding structure has lead to numerous hold-ups.

ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell said in a press release, “This decision takes Canberra one step closer to becoming Australia’s Solar Capital, and demonstrates the government’s commitment to deliver large-scale solar projects to the ACT community.”

“The fast-track process provides for the awarding of up to 20 megawatts of the available 40 megawatts and is due to be announced in August this year.”

“So far, proponents have demonstrated very strong credentials and experience nationally and internationally, with strong local capabilities also demonstrated, especially in the construction phase,” Mr Corbell said.

“This project will take advantage of the large drop in the cost of solar module prices which has occurred over the last couple of years and I am confident Canberrans will receive a good outcome from this process at the most competitive price.”

© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

James Martin II