First Solar scores 241 MW deal in Australia

Brisbane-based PV developer Edify Energy finalized a financing deal last week with U.S. investment firm BlackRock for the Daydream and Hayman installations. Construction is scheduled to begin in September at two locations north of the town of Collinsville, in Queensland’s Whitsunday Region.

First Solar will start delivering roughly 2,026,565 of its Series 4 thin-film solar panels to RCR Tomlinson from the fourth quarter of this year. It expects to wrap up the order by the first quarter of 2018. The Arizona-based thin-film PV manufacturer claims its Series 4 modules will perform well in the heat and humidity of the Whitsundays, because they boast a “superior temperature coefficient.”

John Cole, chief executive of Edify Energy — which is also developing two additional 57.5 MW solar projects near Collinsville — said First Solar can produce more energy per megawatt in northern Queensland with its Series 4 panels than any other manufacturer on the market. “This is of significant importance for asset owners and operators looking to maximize energy production,” Cole said.

U.S.-based Array Technologies will supply single axis trackers for the two solar installations, which will annually generate about 531 GWh of electricity once they are connected to the grid. The projects will produce enough electricity to cater to the needs of about 73,000 homes per year, according to an online statement.

First Solar claims it is the leading supplier of utility-scale solar projects in Australia. It expects its shipments in Australia to surpass 500 MW over the next 12 months.

Collinsville has emerged as a regional hot spot for utility-scale PV development this year. In May, Clean Energy Finance Corp. (CEFC) agreed to provide A$60 million ($47.4 million) in financing to RATCH-Australia to build 42.5 MW of solar capacity at a shuttered coal-fired power plant in the town. And in February, Singapore-based developer Equis Energy announced plans to install 100 MW of solar near the Collinsville North substation.