Australia’s largest operating solar farm comes online


While the outlook for the utility scale solar in Australia looks bleak, with the Renewable Energy Target in real threat of being wound back or abolished, FRV has inaugurated its milestone PV project in the country. The Royalla Solar Farm has been developed under the Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) Action Plan 2 program, which targets 90% renewable energy by 2020.

“Royalla Solar Farm is a very important milestone for FRV not only in Australia, but globally, as it is our first project under operation since the incorporation of Denham Capital as our major shareholder,” said Rafael Benjumea, CEO of FRV, during the opening ceremony. “Through this commissioning, FRV is also bolstering its commitment to clean energy and further establishing itself as a global player in emerging solar markets.”

Construction of the solar farm had taken around 12 months. JinkoSolar supplied the modules for the project.

The Royalla solar farm is located on rural land and there was some local opposition to the project by a community group. Largely protesting on the context of visual amenity, the group used the phrase “Solar Monstrosity” in their efforts.

While developing the project FRV was keen to point out that the solar farm occupied less than 10% of the farming land on the landholding on which it sits. “Furthermore the solar facility will not displace the existing grazing and farming enterprise on the land as this will continue on the remainder of the property,” the PV developers wrote on the project website.

Attending the inauguration was ACT Minister for the Environment Simon Corbell, Spain’s Foreign Minister José Manuel Garcia-Margallo and Australia’s Spanish Ambassador Enrique Viguera. From a solar industry perspective it was pleasing to see Spanish government dignitaries celebrating renewable energy, albeit not on home soil.

FRV is also developing the 70 MW Moree Solar Farm in Australia, for which it recently reached financial closure. The project encountered last minute difficulties, however FRV stepped in to see the project to financial close. The firm is also active in South America, having also closed a deal to finance the 56 MW Jacinta solar farm in Uruguay.