An artist’s impression of the Moree Solar Farm

5 August 2013 — The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will provide funding for two solar projects – a 56 megawatt solar PV plant in Moree and a solar thermal project in Port Augusta.

The CEFC recently announced $60 million of senior debt finance to Moree Solar Farm for the development and construction of a 56MW solar photovoltaic plant.

The plant will provide enough electricity for 15,000 homes and abate over 95,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

CEFC chief executive Oliver Yates said the investment provided a precedent for financing large scale solar PV on a merchant basis in Australia.

“The CEFC financing can bridge the required debt funding in the immediate term to enable the sponsors to proceed to construction and provide flexibility to secure a [power purchase agreement] in the future.

“This utility scale project should help drive down future construction costs as industry participants gain experience building large scale solar projects.”

The CEFC also announced an in-principle agreement to co-finance a solar thermal project in Port Augusta, which will be used to desalinate water for irrigation and provide heating and cooling for a 20-hectare greenhouse facility. The facility will produce over 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes a year.

“CEFC is pleased to be helping to catalyse finance for this exciting project,” said Yates. “It is an example of the types of applications to which the clean energy technology can be applied to transform the Australian economy and create new industries in regional areas.

“Once implemented, this project would be a worldwide demonstration of sustainable horticulture practices that address growing food security, water and clean energy challenges.”

The project, which is due for completion in 2015, will provide jobs for around 200 people and create a new industry in an environment generally considered unsuitable for traditional agriculture.