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Neoen’s 110MW Aussie solar trio reaches financial close

The French renewable energy developer aims to own and operate 1GW of assets Down Under.

Neoen has reached financial close on three large-scale solar projects in Australia with funding support from the country’s state-run renewables agencies. 

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) backed the three facilities, which have a combined capacity of 110MW, through A$16 million ($12.2 million; €11 million) in combined funding from its Large-Scale Solar Competitive Round scheme, while the Clean Energy Finance Corporation provided A$150 million in debt financing.  

The 55MW Parkes Solar Farm and 30MW Griffith Solar Farm will sell their output to French energy retailer ENGIE under power purchase agreements. The 25MW Dubbo Solar Farm, however, will be selling its output on a merchant basis. The construction of the plants is expected to be completed by end of this year. 

The triple financial close marks a step towards Neoen’s goal of owning and operating 1GW of assets in Australia, according to the company’s managing director Franck Woitiez. It also suggests costs are continuing to decrease in the country’s solar sector.

“The plants will cost around A$2 per watt of capacity, one-third cheaper than AGL’s plants in Nyngan and Broken Hill, which cost A$2.8 per watt in 2014 and were competitive at the time,” said Ivor Frischknecht, chief executive of the ARENA.

He added that five New South Wales-based plants won support through the ARENA’s funding round, set to almost double the amount of large-scale solar capacity in the state. A total of 12 projects were selected last September to receive ARENA funding through the scheme.