Australia's 56MW Moree nails finance

The 56MW Moree Solar Farm in New South Wales (NSW), Australia has reached financial close after receiving A$101.7m ($94m) of support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena).

Construction is set to begin soon on what will be one of the largest solar plants in the country.

"Moree Solar Farm will be the first large-scale solar plant in Australia to use a single-axis horizontal tracking system, where panels follow the sun across the sky to capture sunlight and maximise power output," Arena CEO Ivor Frischknecht said.

"The A$164m Moree Solar Farm will benefit the local economy and will also deliver an estimated 130 local jobs during the construction phase over 2014–2016," added Frischknecht.

Frischknecht said the project is also being supported by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), which is providing A$60m of senior debt finance.

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) secured planning approval from the NSW Government in July 2011, followed by a power purchase agreement (PPA) signed a year later with Pacific Hydro, one of Australia's largest independent renewable generators.

The project partners have been working on reaching financial close ever since.

Moree is one of the remnants of Australia’s "solar flagships" initiative, which sought to kick-start development of large-scale solar projects, with mixed results.

Last week another former solar flagships project supported by Arena reached a major milestone when the first panels were installed at the 102MW Nyngan Solar Project, developed by AGL Energy and First Solar in Broken Hill, NSW.