Australia: Fund looks to clear PPA hurdle

pv magazine has covered in depth the two-speed Australian photovoltaic market, with the number of residential installations continuing to grow, while the photovoltaic power plant sector has been slow to develop.

This could be set to change, with Investec saying it is planning to create the first fund in the country that will purchase green power through PPAs. Signing PPAs has been a major hurdle to seeing utility-scale solar developed in Australia, including schemes under the Solar Flagships program, initiated by the federal government.

InvestecÂ’s Mark Schneider has been quoted in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) in saying that the financial services company is planning to create a AUD30 million (US$31 million) fund, from third-party investors, to sign long term PPAs and on-sell the power to retaillers. "If we can crystallise this idea it will be the answer to some of the shortcomings of the current market," Schneider was quoted by the AFR as saying.

Schneider indicated that the fund will focus on wind farms, however the extension to photovoltaic power plants would not be too big a step.

Currently a 10 MW photovoltaic power plant is being developed in Western Australia and two projects, under the Solar Flagships program, worth over 150 MW in New South Wales. All three projects will use First Solar modules, with the company acting also as EPC.