WATCH: Bannerton Solar Park - integrating agriculture and solar generation
The 88MW (AC) 110 (DC) Bannerton Solar Park, near Robinvale in the Sunraysia district in Victoria, will help bring stability and diversity to the state's energy supply.
The project, which has not used grant funding, demonstrates solar's increased competitiveness while supporting a low-emissions transport future through an agreement to provide power for Melbourne's tram network.
The CEFC has committed approximately $98 million for the solar project which was developed by a joint venture between independent global infrastructure and private equity investment manager Foresight Group and Syncline Energy, a Victorian-based developer. Equity investment in the project will be provided by the UK-listed Foresight Solar Fund Limited (FSFL), Korean government-owned Korean Infrastructure Asset Management Company KIAMCO (each of whom are taking a 48.5 per cent stake) and Korea's Hanwha Energy (3 per cent).
The project, being built on almond orchard land at Almas Almonds that isn't suitable for planting, is generating solar and exporting to the grid.
The 320,000-solar panel plant is expected to generate enough power to supply around 30,000 homes with solar energy, and has contracted a significant proportion of its projected output in separate agreements with Alinta Energy and the Victorian Government.
Bannerton is the CEFC's second investment in a solar farm in Victoria. It has previously committed finance to Gannawarra Solar Farm.
The CEFC is the sole debt financier to the project and its involvement demonstrates the commercial viability of the project due to the fall in the cost of building solar in Australia. While Victoria's insolation rates are not as high as northern states, the rapid fall in the cost of building solar makes Bannerton a commercially viable project.