Milestone for Australian energy transition

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Terrain Solar (Terrain), together with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), have agreed to sell a sizeable solar farm to the University of Queensland (UQ).

The announcement of this landmark transaction follows the successful approval of the project’s development application by the Southern Downs Regional Council and represents the first major milestone as Terrain and UQ work together under the sale agreement to develop the project through to construction.

Construction of the 64MW Warwick Solar Farm, located approximately 5km north of the Warwick town centre in South East Queensland, is anticipated to commence in the coming months with energy expected to be exported into the grid by the third quarter of 2019. Once fully operational, the solar farm will generate up to 154,000MWh of renewable energy, displacing 125,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per annum.

“The unique early partnership with UQ has allowed Terrain Solar to shape the project to the end-user’s needs, creating a more optimised fit-for-purpose facility for the life of the solar farm,” Terrain Solar Director Chris Wilson said.

While UQ is already a leader in the renewable energy industry with more than seven years of experience managing behind-the-meter PV solar assets at their campuses in Brisbane and Gatton, the investment in the Warwick Solar Farm will be a significant step change in UQ’s commitment to renewable energy.

The Warwick Solar Farm initiative will see UQ take on the role of both energy user as well as builder, owner, and operator of the renewable energy generator for the full 25 year economic life of the asset. At this scale, UQ’s investment will represent a “first of its kind” approach by a domestic entity in managing its energy costs and environmental commitments, and will make UQ the first major university in the world to offset 100 per cent of its electricity usage through its own renewable energy asset.

The groundbreaking transaction is further evidence of the disruption to the domestic energy market and demonstrates the continued growth of PV solar in Queensland. It also brings into sharp focus the innovative solutions being developed by intensive energy users across the corporate, tertiary and local government sectors to reign in spiraling energy costs.

“We are thrilled to be developing what will be a world first project as the University of Queensland offsets 100 per cent of their electricity usage via their own solar farm asset,” Terrain Solar Director Simon Ingram said.

This agreement with UQ follows the sale of the 30MWac Molong Solar farm to TEC-C Investments in November 2017. Terrain and PwC continue to develop a portfolio covering more than 275MW in greenfield solar farm developments, with a blended contracting and merchant strategy. It is anticipated that once operational, the Terrain Solar portfolio will span close to one million solar panels across New South Wales and Queensland, and will have contributed in the creation of over 600 construction jobs.

“We are excited to see tangible progress in the development of this hugely important project not only for the PwC and Terrain team, but also for UQ, who we commend for their commitment to the renewable energy sector,” said PwC Infrastructure Lead Advisory Partner, Chris McLean.

Terrain Solar were assisted by professional services firm PwC, who continue to act as lead advisor on the development of the Warwick Solar Farm. PwC are providing a fully integrated service offering, including financial, commercial, legal, tax, accounting and financial modelling advice across Terrain Solar’s entire renewable portfolio.

PwC were involved from early stage negotiations of land and feasibility analysis, and will continue to advise Terrain through to Financial Close. In recognition of the role PwC has played in the project’s development, PwC and Terrain agreed to share the entire project development risk.

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