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New solar farm in ACT

Canberra is set for a new solar power farm 16000646 800512908 0 0 14083091 300

Australian solar power has received another boost with the announcement on September 2 that a new solar farm is to be built in the ACT, in the Tuggeranong district south of Canberra.

Simon Corbell, minister for the environment and sustainable development, announced that Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) will begin construction on the Royalla Solar Farm by the end of the year. Construction is predicted to reach completion by mid-2014.

"This is important news for this major project, a year after FRV was granted a feed-in tariff as the sole winner of the fast-track stream of the ACT Government's large-scale solar auction," said Mr Corbell.

Solar auctions have taken place in the ACT to create competition in the renewables industry, designed to drive prices down while also making sure projects are truly viable with any risks balanced out. It is hoped it will make a big difference to the lives of those in the ACT struggling with high electricity prices.

"All funding agreements are now in place for the project and FRV is able to start work on site. This demonstrates the financial viability of the project, at the low price of $186 per megawatt hour bid by FRV," said Mr Corbell. 

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has congratulated the companies involved with the project, now that its financial backing through ANZ and National Australia Bank has been confirmed.

David Green, chief executive of the CEC, said that it's great that large-scale solar power is starting to get some serious momentum this year.

"The 20-megawatt Royalla Solar Farm will be a landmark project, employing 100 people during construction and providing enough power for the equivalent of 4500 houses when it is completed," said Mr Green. He also noted that the solar auction program has been pivotal in supporting large-scale solar at low cost to the consumer.

When the Royalla Solar Farm has been completed, it will be the largest solar photovoltaic farm in the nation, marking the ACT as one of the country's top solar hotspots.

While Royalla Solar Farm won the fast-track stream of the solar auction in the ACT, the regular stream winners were announced last month too. These winners are Zhenfa Solar and Elementus Energy, with feed-in tariff prices of $178 and $186 per megawatt hour respectively.

Mr Corbell said that these three projects combined will reduce the territory's greenhouse gas emissions by 1.4 million tonnes over 20 years, while producing enough electricity collectively to power approximately 10,000 homes annually.

It looks like the ACT is one to watch when it comes to renewable energy - stay tuned for more developments in this promising solar and renewable region.

Posted by Charlie Moore