After a decidedly shaky start to life, Australia’s 70MW Moree Solar Farm – one the nation’s largest solar works-in-progress – has been named as the best solar project deal of 2014 for the Asia-Pacific region.
The northern NSW plant, which was funded by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and is being built by Spain-based developers Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, was named No.1 solar transaction by IJ Global, whose Asia Pacific Awards recognise best-in-class deals in energy and infrastructure over the past year.
The $164 million project secured financial closure last August, after what could hardly be called a smooth run.
This included the shock, eleventh-hour withdrawal of Australian project partner Pacific Hydro, due to “ongoing political and market uncertainty”, and various dedicated attempts by the Abbott government to close down the CEFC, whose funding ultimately helped get the project over the line.
CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said that by providing $47million in senior debt financing for the Moree Solar Farm, the CEFC had created a precedent in the Australian market for financing large-scale solar PV on a merchant basis.
Despite being a scaled down version of a project from the ill-fated Solar Flagships program, the Moree plant will be unique in Australia as the first example of single-axis tracking technology deployed on such a large scale. Work got underway on the plant in November.