Australia's first utility-scale solar power station to be built in Moree

(PresseBox) ( Hamburg, )
Leaders in solar and large-scale renewable energy, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), BP Solar and Pacific Hydro welcomed today's announcement by the Federal Government that their joint proposal to build Australia's first utility scale solar project, the 150MW Moree Solar Farm in the NSW Tablelands, has been selected as part of the Solar Flagships Program.

"This is an exciting day for the consortium partners who are looking forward to working closely with the Federal and NSW State Governments to deliver this landmark project," said Javier Huergo, of FRV and a Director of Moree Solar Farm.

The Moree Solar Farm project is part of the Australian Federal Government's Solar Flagships Program which will commit $1.5 billion to support the construction and operation of solar power stations around Australia.

When completed, the Moree Solar Farm will comprise around 650,000 PV panels and produce enough power for around 45,000 households (or roughly a town the size of Darwin), leading to an annual displacement of around 400,000 tonnes of CO2 through generation of renewable electricity.

Subject to final approvals, construction is scheduled to commence in mid 2012.

Tony Stocken of BP Solar and a Director of Moree Solar Farm said: "The Moree Solar Farm will pave the way for more utility scale solar power production in Australia by demonstrating that this proven technology has an important role to play helping Australia transition to a low carbon emission future."

While the Moree Solar Farm will be the first of its kind in Australia, utility scale solar PV power stations have been successfully operating in the USA, Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, China and other countries for many years and Australia has a higher level of solar resource than any of these countries.

The town of Moree was chosen for its intense solar resource, one of the best in Australia, and the availability of suitable land closely located near an adequate substation to enable connection to the state's power grid.

The Moree Solar Farm brings together three of the world's leaders in renewable energy, utility scale project delivery and operation.

Independent power producer FRV is the majority equity holder in the consortium. BP Solar will be acting as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction contractor for the project, and will retain a minority equity stake in the project. Pacific Hydro, one of Australia's leading renewable energy businesses, will also be holding a minority shareholding in the project.

In addition to providing a blueprint business model for the roll-out of utility scale solar across Australia, the Moree Solar Farm will provide a significant boost to the local economy creating or sustaining hundreds of jobs during the four-year construction phase, with the potential to create many more indirect jobs across Australia.

"The local community has been incredibly supportive of the proposal - welcoming the consortium's plans from the beginning and providing fantastic feedback which helped with the design of the project", said Lane Crockett of Pacific Hydro and a Moree Solar Farm Director.

"The Moree Plains Shire is extremely excited that Moree has been chosen as the best location for Australia's first solar power plant of this size", said Katrina Humphries, Mayor of Moree Plains Shire.

"In recent months we have met with the consortium on many occasions and built great relationships, even friendships. The consortium members have gained the trust of the Moree local community and incorporated the community's ideas into their final plans. We look forward to continuing this relationship and working closely with them in the future."

About the Solar Flagships Program:

In 2009 the Federal Government announced the $1.5 billion Solar Flagships program, an initiative to support the construction of up to four large-scale, grid connected solar power stations in Australia, using solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) technologies.

The primary objective of the program is to provide the foundation for large-scale grid connected solar power to play a significant role in shaping Australia's electricity supply and to operate within a competitive electricity market.

About the consortium partners:


FRV is one of the largest pure solar independent power producers in the world and currently owns and operates more than 241MW of installed solar PV plants in Europe and the US. In addition FRV currently has a pipeline of more than 1.5GW of solar generation assets under development.

Pacific Hydro

Pacific Hydro is one of Australia's leading renewable energy companies with an enviable record for innovative commercialisation of renewable energy projects and a reputation as a pioneer in sustainability. It has 302MW installed capacity of wind and hydro in Australia and a further 440MW of operational renewable facilities overseas.
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