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CEFC-financed solar ready to power up Alice Springs

20 August 2015

Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) CEO Oliver Yates today congratulated renewable energy company Epuron on the commissioning of the expanded Uterne solar plant at Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

The 4.1MW solar plant with innovative tracking technology, is expected to meet the needs of about 1,100 homes.

"The expanded Uterne solar plant, which used CEFC finance, demonstrates the potential for solar for regional towns across Australia," Mr Yates said.

"Lower cost solar power and the development of battery storage technologies offer exciting potential for rural and remote communities wanting to drive down their energy costs."

The CEFC committed $13 million in finance to enable the expansion of the existing 1MW Uterne solar plant at Alice Springs to 4.1MW, making it Australia's largest completed solar farm using tracking technology.

The plant was constructed by SunPower and will supply the Alice Springs electricity network, which is operated by the Northern Territory's Power and Water Corporation.

The tracking technology enables the panels to follow the sun and deliver up to 30 per cent more energy than fixed-tilt installations.

"The solar potential of Australia is obvious, and the CEFC stands ready to invest and help catalyse the finance required for the growth of utility-scale solar in Australia," Mr Yates said.

"The construction of more large-scale solar capacity will help drive down future construction and maintenance costs, as industry participants gain experience building and operating these projects."

With some $78.8 million already committed to direct investment in 72.5MW of large-scale solar projects valued at $231.4 million, the CEFC is working on a further pipeline of investment opportunities valued at over $200 million.

The CEFC is financing the 56MW Moree Solar Farm and Australia's largest solar and battery storage project to date, being constructed at Sandfire Resources' DeGrussa mine in WA.

The CEFC also played a leading role in helping South Australian produce supplier Sundrop Farms secure capital for an innovative application of solar thermal technology.

In addition, the CEFC is working closely with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) on its recently announced $100 million program to support the development of up to 200MW of large-scale solar in Australia. 

About Epuron

Founded in 2003, Epuron is a leading, privately-owned Australian renewable energy company with a focus on development, ownership and operation of utility-scale renewable energy projects.

In solar energy, Epuron's focus is megawatt-scale power generation in both grid-connected and off-grid markets.  The expansion of Uterne will increase Epuron Solar's total operational solar portfolio capacity to over 5 megawatts. In addition to Uterne, Epuron Solar owns and operates three off-grid solar projects located in the Northern Territory. These projects all displace diesel usage in remote communities.

Epuron is also one of Australia's most successful wind farm developers. It has developed the highest yielding, largest, and largest number of wind farms in NSW.

In the local Arrernte language, Uterne means "bright sunny day".

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Media release, 2015

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