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FRV wins Australia's first reverse auction with 20MW PV project

Australia’s largest solar farm supported by a feed-in tariff (FIT) will be built in Canberra's south by Spanish PV developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV).

FRV will build the 20MW facility in Royalla after winning the fast-track stream of the Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) large-scale solar reverse auction.

With a FIT of A$186 ($191) per MWh for 20 years, the successful auction proposal submitted by FRV is “highly competitive” and will result in the ACT hosting the largest solar farm in Australia by 2014, ACT energy minister Simon Corbell says.

Subject to planning approvals and environmental clearances, FRV will build the PV plant about 25km south of Canberra.

The company declined to comment on the total cost of the project or which supplier it will use.

“The quality and price of FRV’s winning bid shows how successful this auction process can be in delivering renewable energy investment,” Corbell says.

From a total of 49 proposals from 27 proponents, 10 projects from six qualified for the initial “fast- track” auction for 20MW.

Another 20MW will be auctioned in July 2013, with further allocations up to a maximum of 210MW available for deployment under the scheme to 2016.

"This is a landmark day for Big Solar in Australia", says John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council.

"Today's announcement of 20MW of Big Solar in the ACT is a taste of what is to come. Solar is increasingly taking on coal-fired power on price," he adds.

He says the ACT's reverse solar auction provides a model for all Australian governments to quickly build large-scale solar power plants.

The Spanish developer is also a member of the Moree Solar consortium that originally won the PV portion of the Solar Flagships tender, but could not reach financial closure in time.

AGL Energy and First Solar eventually won the re-tender with a proposed 159MW project spread between Broken Hill and Nyngan.

Construction of that project will not start until 2014.