“This is a major commitment to solar energy and confirmation of the NSW Government’s determination of growing the renewable energy sector and confirming our State as number one in that endeavour,” Ms Williams said.
“This plant, covering 350 hectares 10km south of Moree, is a joint venture between Pacific Hydro Australia and European company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) and will consist of 250,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels which will be able to ‘follow-the-sun’.
“The technology has the potential to produce 30 per cent more energy than a farm using fixed position panels and to capture a higher volume of peak priced electricity.
“The plant will have an installed capacity of 56 Mega Watts, which will take solar PV in NSW to over 200 Mega Watts by 2016.
“This project in northern NSW means jobs, local investment and more opportunities in regional NSW, especially for young people.
“It will supply about 15,000 households with cheap, clean energy and create 100 jobs during construction.”
Ms Williams said the project developer, FRV, received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and $60 million of senior debt finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
“The Renewable Energy Advocate, a position created by this Government, together with NSW Trade & Investment, has worked with developer FRV since 2010 and it is most pleasing to see all our efforts with this wonderful project are soon to be realised,” she said.
“Solar energy has a number of benefits. It is cheap and environmentally friendly with the environmental benefits enhanced through the planning requirement for a biodiversity offset at the plant.
”NSW leads the country in large scale solar projects and, after hydro power, solar PV is the largest source of renewable energy generated in NSW.
”NSW has more than 260,000 households with solar on their roofs and small scale solar electricity generation has increased 40 times since 2008.
”NSW Renewable energy generation has doubled between 2001 and 2014 which is supporting more than 13,000 jobs and $8 billion investment predominantly in regional areas.
“The NSW Government is committed to increasing the use of energy from renewable sources at least cost to consumers and with maximum benefits to the State.
“We are conscious of the value of renewable energy in delivering cheap and dependable power to consumers and helping us to secure power supplies into the future.”