NSW government to support up to 8 solar farms

The NSW government has moved to boost the prospects of eight  large-scale solar projects proposed for the state, by effectively guaranteeing the purchase of a significant proportion of their output.

NSW energy minister Anthony Roberts has proposed that 92GWh of solar output be bought by government users – roughly the equivalent of about 40MW of solar capacity.

The move is designed to improve the chances of the eight NSW solar projects that made a shortlist of 22 projects in the $100 million funding round being conducted by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

By having a power purchase agreement for all or part of their output, the solar projects will need less money from ARENA to get their project off the ground, in turn improving their prospects of getting a grant.

The ARENA funding will total around $100 million and will support around 200MW of new capacity, although this is expected to be spread over numerous projects.

“This renewable energy power purchase agreement is an innovative way for the NSW government to use a portion of its energy needs to improve the competitiveness of these shortlisted projects,” Roberts said.

“We are providing the solar industry with confidence that the NSW government will support solar investment in our state and providing and opportunity for any of the successful short-listed projects to secure long-term financial certainty.”

The eight solar farms competing for ARENA funds can be found here, along with the other candidates. Final bids are due this week.

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson