The 2.3MW Mount Majura Solar Farm has been officially opened in the ACT on Thursday morning, marking the launch of yet another contributor to the Territory’s 100 per cent renewable energy target.
The project, developed by Solar Choice 15km north-east of Canberra, features single-axis tracking technology that allows the 7,340 panels to adjust their tilt and orientation throughout the day, potentially improving the PV system’s output by up to 40 per cent compared to a fixed-tilt system.
Once completed, it will be owned and operated by Impact Investment Group’s IIG Solar Income Fund, marking the first acquisition of the $100 million renewable energy investment fund headed up by former Pacific Hydro chief Lane Crockett and chaired by Ross Garnaut.
Launched in July, the IIIG fund aims to use investments like Majura to deliver investors stable, long-term cash returns, with a targeted return of around 10 per cent, while also supporting Australia’s renewables sector at what Garnaut has described as a “crucial time.”
According to economic analysis, IIG’s solar fund is expected to deliver about 270 jobs during construction, and around $57 million in savings from health and environmental costs associated with fossil fuels.
It also expects to power the equivalent of 9,000 homes over its life, abating 48,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Prominent investors in the Fund include ethical super fund Future Super as well as high net wealth individuals and family groups.
“We are very proud to see official kick-off of our first solar energy asset, the Mount Majura Solar Farm,” said Impact Investment Group CEO Chris Lock.
“The Solar Farm will contribute to the ACT’s 100 per cent renewable energy target providing 4,300 MWh/year which equates to supplying electricity for about 615 Canberra homes,” he said.
Lock also noted that the Mt Majura opening could not have been achieved without the leadership of the ACT Government, which he said provided a “great example of how … leadership can catalyse and attract private capital to the renewables sector.”
As ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr noted at the launch on Thursday, the Territory has 640MW of renewable energy already contracted towards its 100 per cent renewable energy target.
“With innovations like solar and battery storage, new energy efficient devices and even more competition between energy retailers, Canberrans have never had more choice and control over their energy usage,” Barr said.