Two solar farms to go up in Australian Capital Territory


The Australian Capital Territory, which surrounds the Australian capital Canberra, will soon have two utility scale solar farms following the government’s latest solar auction.

The Canberra Times reported on Tuesday (Australian time) that a Chinese and an Australian company had won bids to build the two solar farms on more than 80 hectares of land.

Chinese company Zhenfa Solar will build a 13 MW farm on Mugga Lane in Canberra while OneSun will erect a 10 MW facility in the Coree region near the border with New South Wales, of which 7 MW will be covered by the government incentive program.

The project winners were selected from 15 bids in the latest round but will still have to go through the development application process, said Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell.

”Not only do they bring a very competitive price, which means we deliver the largest amount of solar energy at the cheapest price for consumers, but they also bring the necessary financial and technical expertise and backing that’s needed," Corbell said, quoted in the Canberra Times.

The Australian Capital Territory is aiming for a greenhouse gas reduction target of 40% by 2020, with a more ambitious goal of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2060.

According to Corbell, the maximum cost to households is expected to be A$0.45 per week when all three farms are operating in 2016. That figure is forecast to drop to A$0.27 per household per week by 2021.

The Australian Capital Territory last month approved the 20 MW Royalla solar project in the area. Together with the Zhenfa and OneSun ventures, the three projects account for a capital investment of more than A$100 million in the territory.

The Mugga Lane solar farm, built on 44 hectares, is expected to be completed by September 2014 while the Coree park is due to be finished by mid-2015 on some 40 hectares of grazing land, according to the newspaper.