Neoen reaches 1 GW of solar assets in Australia as 100 MW project gets green light

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The 100 MW Numurkah Solar Farm in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley region has reached financial close and is ready to begin construction within days. According to Neoen, it will create up to 300 jobs for the local economy.

The first panels are set to be installed in October, with Downer EDI handling the EPC duties on the project. Commercial operation, meanwhile, is scheduled to begin next May. 

Even before work began on the project, Neoen secured major power supply contracts: a 38 MW Green Certificate Purchase Agreement with the Victorian Government towards the Melbourne tram network, and a 15-year PPA with SIMEC ZEN, the Australian energy arm of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, which was signed in the presence of French President, Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull in May.

SIMEC ZEN Energy will use the energy to support firm retail supply contracts to commercial and industrial customers in Victoria, including the Melbourne-based Laverton steelworks – another turn to solar to reduce power costs in the steel industry, adding to the largest solar PPA in Australia inked by Bluescope Steel a week ago, to cover 20% of its electricity requirements.    

The project’s cost of around $198 million has been covered by Neoen, the Australian government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), with $56 million in debt finance, clients managed by Vantage Infrastructure, an independent specialist investment manager, as well as German Landesbank NORD/LB.

Announcing the financial close, Neoen said the project is a significant milestone for the company, which now owns and operates, or is building 1 GW of assets in Australia, including the Tesla big battery in South Australia.

“Numurkah is an important project for Neoen“, said Franck Woitiez, Managing Director of Neoen Australia. “First, because it marks the achievement of our first gigawatt of projects in Australia, either under construction or in operation.

“Second, because the Victorian Government and ZEN Energy are long-term partners for Neoen and this project proves that collectively, we are moving towards our aim of delivering sustainable, reliable and competitive energy to all Australians,” he explained.