Genex Power secures $76.8 million for 50 MW Australian mine PV

Via its large-scale solar financing scheme, the CEFC is providing A$54 million of debt financing to back the first phase of construction at a former gold mine in Kidston, Queensland.

Upon completion of the entire first phase by the first quarter of 2018, Genex Power expects the solar panels to annually generate roughly 145.9 GWh of electricity, or enough to satisfy the needs of about 26,500 homes.

The company has now finalized funding for all EPC and O&M requirements of the project, which will eventually be expanded to include a 250 MW pumped hydro storage installation.

“Energy storage solutions such as pumped hydro are the next step in our clean energy transition,” said Gloria Chan, large-scale solar lead for the CEFC, which is now nearing financial close on several other undisclosed solar projects.

“We are committed to working with developers to finance opportunities that can complement Australia’s growing renewable energy capacity by adding energy storage and grid stability services.”

The CEFC hopes that the Kidtson project — situated approximately  270 kilometres northwest of Townsville — will establish a model under which other shuttered mines throughout the country can be repurposed.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is also providing Genex Power with an additional A$8.85 million in grant funding to back the development of the project.

“Kidston holds the tantalizing proposition of being Australia’s first large-scale solar project capable of delivering renewable energy into the grid around the clock,” said ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

Upon completion of the planned second phase, the Kidston site will be the only project in Australia to pair a large-scale solar array with a utility-scale pumped hydro storage solution.

Genex has started building the first phase of the project and is now seeking financing support for the second phase, according to a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

It also plans to eventually build another 270 MW of solar capacity at the so-called “Kidston Renewable Energy Hub.”

The CEFC, which recently provided A$150 million in financing for three undisclosed projects in New South Wales, now expects to surpass its initial A$250 million financing goal.

In late January, the state-owned lender provided A$5 million to help grid-integration specialist GreenSync expand its business.