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27 March 2017

First Solar to deliver 48.5MW Manildra Solar Farm in Australia

Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA says that financial close has been reached for the Manildra Solar Farm in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, which is is supported by AUD$9.8m of grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The project had reached financial close through ARENA’s large-scale solar competitive round, which is driving down costs and boosting investment, says ARENA’s CEO Ivor Frischknecht.

RCR O’Donnell Griffin Pty Ltd has been appointed for engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) of the 48.5MWAC project. Construction is scheduled to begin in first-half 2017 and complete in 2018 (taking First Solar's installed capacity in Australia to more than 400MWAC).

First Solar will leverage its expertise in utility-scale solar development to deliver the project, which will use about 466,000 First Solar modules and single-axis tracking technology (expected to produce over 120,000MW-hrs of electricity in its first year of operation).

The project is expected to produce enough energy to serve the needs of about 14,000 average NSW homes and displace more than 91,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year (equivalent to taking about 24,000 cars off the road). First Solar has entered into a 13-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with EnergyAustralia for the generated electricity and large-scale generation certificates.

“We have witnessed unprecedented cost reductions in large-scale solar in recent years,” notes Jack Curtis, First Solar’s regional manager of Asia Pacific. “As the appetite for this asset class continues to grow, timely and reliable project delivery will be the strongest driver of future cost reductions, cementing solar as a competitive energy source in Australia,” he adds.

Located 1km east of Manildra in regional NSW, the Manildra Solar Farm will benefit directly from existing solar supply chains, and operations and maintenance hubs. It will also provide an economic benefits to the region through the creation of direct and indirect jobs, supporting small business, and developing regional skills in a growing industry.

“By supporting innovators like First Solar, ARENA has fast-tracked the development of substantial new Australian industries like the large-scale solar sector, which is now on the cusp of being commercial,” says Frischknecht.

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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