Origin Energy signs 13-year PPA for 100 MW Queensland solar farm

Currently under construction, the 100 MW Clare Solar Farm in Queensland, Australia, has secured a 13-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Origin Energy.

The utility has agreed to purchase all of the solar energy, as well as the renewable energy certificates, generated by the solar farm over the next 13 years.

Spanish EPC Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) is building the plant at a site close to Ayr, with production penciled in to begin in 2017. This is the third large-scale solar project in Australia for FRV, having already developed the Moree solar farm and the Royalla solar project.

Origin’s Frank Calabria, who is the utility’s head of energy markets, said that "now is the ideal time to invest in solar", adding that Origin Energy has been seeking opportunities to diversify its renewable energy portfolio, with solar earmarked as the most cost-effective route to greater renewable penetration.

Australia’s 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) was revised in 2015 and recently slashed once more, with the government setting a reduced goal of 33,000 GWh of renewable supply by 2020, driven by the issuance of large-scale renewable energy certificates (LGCs) to developers.

These LGCs deliver additional revenue for clean energy projects built at scale, and the improved RET is thought to be delivering the stability necessary to encourage investors.

However, analysts Green Energy Markets do not expect Australia to hit the RET, with LGC prices surging in March to a peak of AUSD$83.5, averaging $75 for the month – way above the nominal value of $65.