Photovoltaics
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French multinational renewables company Neoen has signed an agreement for the construction of Australia’s largest solar energy farm.

A 352 MWp power purchase agreement signed with CleanCo will enable the construction of 460 to 480 MWp Western Green Power Hub near Chinchilla in southeast Queensland.

Once completed, the solar energy farm will generate 1080 GWh per annum, which will be integrated into the Powerlink Queensland transmission network. The project will generate enough energy to power 235,000 households.

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The project is CleanCo’s second renewables initiative in Australia and will play an important role in helping Queensland to achieve its goal of becoming 50 per cent renewable-powered by 2030.

The solar farm will contribute over 30 per cent of the energy required for CleanCo Queensland to meet its target of 1GW of new renewable generation by 2025.

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Neoen will own and operate the $570m project. Construction will start in July 2020 for the project to go live in the first quarter of 2022. Up to 400 jobs will be created and a Community Benefit Fund has been created totaling $100,000 every year for the lifetime of the project.

Louis de Sambucy, Neoen Australia’s Managing Director said: “We are excited to work in partnership with CleanCo with whom we share the same long-term vision. The electricity produced by Western Downs solar farm will complement CleanCo’s hydro energy production and it will be our first project in Queensland. We are fully committed to delivering this landmark deal by making the most of the region’s excellent solar resources, the use of the latest technology and our experience in delivering solar farms on time and on budget.

“We look forward to Western Downs becoming a lighthouse project in achieving excellent regional economic and local community outcomes that will be needed in the aftermath of Covid-19’s impact on the economy. This will also help the Queensland government work towards its ambitious target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.”

Powerlink Queensland Interim Chief Executive, Kevin Kehl, said the Western Downs Green Power Hub is extremely well-positioned to connect to the national grid via Powerlink’s transmission network.