Construction Begins on New Utility-Scale Solar Plant in Australia

by | Jan 4, 2019


(Photo: One of Signal Energy’s previously completed solar energy projects. Credit: Signal Energy)

Construction has started on the Finley Solar Farm in New South Wales, Australia, a 175-MW utility-scale renewable energy project expected to be built by July of this year. Australian utility-scale solar farm developer ESCO Pacific tapped Signal Energy Australia to build the facility.

Located on 951 acres of agricultural land near the township of Finley, the project cost nearly $120 million (USD). The project also calls for installing more than 490,000 of Canadian Solar’s 1500V high efficiency KuMax modules on single-axis tracking systems. When the farm is completed, it should displace more than 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, Signal Energy Australia and Canadian Solar say.

Last July, Australian steel producer BlueScope signed a 7-year PPA with ESCO Pacific. The contract, for 66% of the Finley Solar Farm’s output including large-scale generation certificates, became the largest corporate PPA with a solar farm in the country.

BlueScope selected the Finley Solar Farm based on ESCO Pacific’s experience in successfully delivering large-scale solar farms to market as well as the energy price that ESCO Pacific offered under the PPA, the companies said last summer.

“This PPA is one of Australia’s largest corporate offtake agreements, which provide the reliable electricity supply we need for manufacturing processes that must operate 24/7,” BlueScope’s chief executive of Australian steel products John Nowlan said. “The PPA will help keep downward pressure on our energy costs, and will support the gradual transition to renewable energy.”

BlueScope makes branded coated and painted steel products, and is the third largest manufacturer of painted and coated steel products in the world.

“We have continued our drive to pursue an ever-decreasing environmental footprint by directing our efforts to reducing consumption, reusing materials, and recycling,” the company’s managing director and CEO Mark Vassella said in announcing BlueScope’s FY2018 sustainability report. “This is achieved through all kinds of programs focused on efficiency, cost and waste reduction, and adoption of renewables.”

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