Neoen’s landmark Coleambally Solar Farm in New South Wales has commenced full-scale commercial operation and is producing the highest energy output of any solar farm in the country’s National Electricity Market at present.

Commissioned and connected by Neoen to TransGrid’s high voltage transmission network, the Coleambally Solar Farm is located in the Riverina region. The 550-hectare facility is supported by a 12-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with leading energy retailer EnergyAustralia. Under this agreement, EnergyAustralia will take 70 per cent of the solar farm’s energy output. The remainder will be sold directly to the market.

As the largest currently fully operational photovoltaic (PV) facility in Australia with 567,800 solar PV panels installed, the facility will produce over 390,000MWh of clean, emission-free, renewable energy per annum, which is enough to power more than 65,000 New South Wales households.

That will make a significant contribution towards reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and is equivalent to taking 90,000 cars off the road.

With the support of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), TransGrid and other key stakeholders, Neoen continues to deliver on its promise of bringing more sustainable, reliable and competitive energy to Australians, as well as its commitment to regional economies.

During construction, almost 400 jobs were created for the Riverina area, stimulating local economic activity and diversifying its industrial base. The solar farm will continue to provide a number and large variety of permanent and contracting or temporary employment opportunities during its expected service life well beyond 30 years.

Franck Woitiez, Managing Director for Neoen Australia, said, “Coleambally Solar Farm is an example of the projects that will underpin a modern energy system in Australia.

“Through the course of its development, we have received enthusiastic response at the regional and state level. As a long-term investor in Australia’s renewable energy future, we are proud of this achievement and would like to offer our sincere thanks to the Riverina community for allowing us to realise the full potential of this landmark project.

“Neoen will continue to work with our partners, and particularly the local communities, councils and state government to ensure that the people of New South Wales enjoy clean, efficient and affordable electricity for decades to come.”

Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s Chairman and CEO, said, “We are very proud to be bringing into service this new power plant, which is a perfect illustration of our wide-ranging expertise: our ability to work on both wind and large-scale solar projects in Australia, to negotiate purchase agreements bilaterally with utilities, and to sell part of our production in the spot market now that grid parity has been achieved.

“With this latest project, Neoen confirms its status as Australia’s number one independent renewable energy producer. Australia is well-suited to the development of renewable energy, and we will pursue our future developments with the same integrity and respect for local areas as we have always shown.”

Site preparations began in January 2018, with full construction and connection completed between March and September 2018.

Specialist clean energy financier CEFC, German Landesbank NORD/LB, German government owned development bank KfW Ipex and Bouygues Construction Australia Pty Ltd have all backed the development and the construction of the Coleambally Solar Farm.

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