Equis Energy investing AUS$400m into two Australian solar farms

Equis Energy, one of the largest independent renewable energy developers and investors in Asia, has confirmed today it is to invest AUS$400 million ($303 million) in the development of 200 MW of solar PV capacity in Australia.

Comprising two 100 MW solar plants located in South Australia and Queensland, the completion of the projects would push Australia closer towards its federal government’s goal of drawing at least 20% of its power from renewable sources by 2020.

The 100 MW solar plant in South Australia will be located at Tailem Bend, near to a 28.5 MW diesel-fired power station being constructed by Snowy Hydro. Equis Energy will construct and operate the solar farm – with development due to commence shortly – and sell all solar energy produced to Snowy Hydro for at least 22 years.

Snowy Hydro currently operates more than 5.5 GW of generation capacity across Australia, and this investment would represent the firm’s largest involvement in solar PV to date. According to Equis Energy, the Tailem Bend solar plant will deliver some of Australia’s lowest solar costs, undercutting prevailing South Australia market prices by around 40%, said Equis Group CEO David Russell.

“The Tailem Bend Solar Project represents an exciting expansion into Australia for Equis, and a unique opportunity to leverage our development and construction expertise to deliver low cost, large scale, reliable renewable energy for Australia consumers,” said Russell.

By developing the 100 MW solar plant and 28.5 MW diesel plant concurrently, Snowy Hydro and Equis Energy can deliver a combined system capable of providing stable power day and night, the CEO added. “In addition, the Tailem Bend Solar Project has been developed to facilitate large-scale battery storage, further enhancing the base load nature of the projects,” confirmed Russell.

The Queensland solar farm will be located in Collinsville North, and will also be developed close to the Collinsville North substation, with construction expected to commence later this year. It too will be developed with a battery storage facility in mind.

For Equis Energy, the completion of these two projects will bolster the number of renewable energy projects under construction or complete to 49. “These projects will be two of Australia’s lowest-cost solar generation projects and will contribute low cost solar power and new jobs to regional communities,” added Russell.