Beryl Solar Farm Sold To New Energy Solar

We’ve written about the Beryl Solar Farm reaching a financial close back in May – now the 87MW (108MW according to the AFR) project has a new owner and is continuing construction. 

Beryl Solar Farm Sold To New Energy Solar

Beryl Solar Farm Sold to New Energy Solar
Beryl Solar Farm Sold to New Energy Solar (source: FirstSolar.com.au)

According to PV Magazine, the farm has been purchased by New Energy Solar – who also bought the 50MW Manildra Solar Farm for $113m last month. Both farms were previously owned by First Solar and the Beryl farm will be using their 420W large-format Series 6 thin film PV modules. Beryl also comes with a 15 year PPA with Transport for NSW – who will purchase 134,000 MWh from Beryl Solar Farm each year – using the power for the Sydney Metro Northwest railway. This long PPA with a AAA rated customer (i.e. the government) makes the farm a great buy in its current shape.

The EPC project was estimated at $150m according to Reuters, but it’s now estimated at $187m. Downer Utilities started work on the project in May and hope to have it finished in mid 2019. The farm will produce enough energy to power 25,000 households and doesn’t require any water for its electricity generation.

New Energy Solar said the cost of the farm won’t be announced but it was pegged to a target for five-year annual average gross yield of 8.2%, in comparison with yield on its existing portfolio of about 6.8% p.a, so by those metrics it looks like a canny purchase. 

New Energy Solar’s CEO, John Martin, discussed how the extra-long 15 year PPA helped get the sale of this project over the line:

“Beryl, New’s second investment in Australia, will further enhance the scale and contracted cashflows of our Australian portfolio,” said Martin. “Following the Manildra acquisition last month, we are delighted to be consolidating our relationship with First Solar through this second sizeable transaction in the Australian market.”

Martin continued to say that ~69% of the energy provided by the Beryl project will go to Transport for NSW – with the rest slated to package up with a 20MWh battery and sold to a corporate customer as commercial solar

To learn more about the project from the First Solar website please click here

If you’re interested in solar employment and working at the Beryl Solar Farm, please click here to visit the Downer Group’s careers website.

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Beryl Solar Farm reaches financial close.

First Solar have reached a financial close at the 87MW Beryl solar farm in New South Wales. The farm will be one of the world’s first to use First Solar’s Series 6 modules (with 420+ watts per module) and will be constructed by Downer EDI. 

Beryl Solar Farm – Construction and Financial Close

Beryl Solar Farm
Beryl Solar Farm (site: firstsolar.com.au)

Beryl is around five km from Gulgong in central west NSW. This is one of NSW’s biggest completed solar farms but there are some upcoming projects which will dwarf it (such as the 200MW Sunraysia solar farm in Balranald or the $380m Gunning Solar Farm – with solar there are always bigger plans in place!).

According to a press release on Reuters, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract is worth about $150m and construction will commence soon.

TransGrid’s head of business growth Richard Lowe discussed how they will be able to integrate into the project: “The project is located approximately 250 metres south of TransGrid’s Beryl Substation, so we have been able to offer a very competitive and attractive asset connection plan to First Solar,” Lowe said in a statement on the TransGrid website.

“The Beryl Solar Farm will connect directly into TransGrid’s high-voltage electricity transmission network via a 66kV connection to a new bay at Beryl Substation.

“This connection will allow the export of 87 megawatts of power into the National Electricity Market – enough to serve the needs of approximately 25,000 average NSW homes, while the associated carbon emission displacement is equivalent to taking about 45,000 cars off the road.” the statement from TransGrid continued.

TransGrid will oversee the construction and operation of a new substation at the Beryl solar farm so they’re able to then connect that to the existing Beryl substation. This will happen in the second half of the year. 

If you’d like to learn more about the Series 6 module please click here to watch a video on the manufacturing process. 

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Trump imposes Solar Tariff on Panel Imports

President Donald Trump has imposed a solar tariff – on solar panel imports, which is expected to have myriad repercussions for local manufacturers and their ability to compete against competitors in China and South Korea. Will this have an impact on solar panel technology, and what will it mean for local manufacturers?

Trump’s Solar Tariff – What Now?

An ostensible slap in the face to the renewable energy, Trump’s idea of raising import tariffs by up to 30% may have a few benefits, at least for USA based companies. 

Donald Trump Imposes USA Solar Tariff
Donald Trump Imposes USA Solar Tariff (source: @realDonaldTrump via Twitter)

First Solar Inc., USA based panel maker saw their shares jump by almost 10% in after-hours trading. Shares of U.S. home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool jumped also 5 percent on Tuesday on the back of the news, as washing machines have also seen a tariff imposed on them.  

According to Time magazine, however, the move will stifle a $28 billion industry not only overseas, but the raised costs of solar panels will also harm the American solar industry. The Solar Energy Industries Association has projected tens of thousands of job losses in a sector that currently employs 260,000 people, America wide. These tariffs are on the back of Trump’s administration pulling out of the international Paris climate agreement, and rolling back regulations on power plant emissions. 

According to a statement made by President Trump on Monday, the first 2.5 gigawatts of imported solar cells will be exempt from the tariffs. Four years of tariffs will then start at 30 percent in the first year and gradually drop to 15 percent.

“Developers may have to walk away from their projects,” Hugh Bromley, a New York-based analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in an interview before Trump’s decision. “Some rooftop solar companies may have to pull out” of some states.

CNBC reported that Credit Suisse analyst Susan Maklari told her clients that Trump’s decision wasn’t all that surprising.

“All those producing in the US will now face a similar cost structure, creating a more level playing field,” wrote Maklari. “Based on filings by LG and Samsung, they have a combined roughly 33 percent share in the U.S. suggesting 3 million washers are brought in annually. That said, both have commenced construction of U.S.-based capacity, which is expected to come on line over the next 12-18 months. As such, we expect this decision to become less impactful in time.”

Only time will tell what impact this has on the renewable energy industry as a whole, but these sort of protectionist regulations are rarely a step in the right direction. Watch this space…

 

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SMC / Sun Metals Solar Farm Project

Korean owned North Queensland zinc refiner Sun Metals has begun building a 125MW, $199m solar farm to underpin its refinery in Townsville. The Sun Metals solar farm will be completed next year and is another of many massive ongoing solar projects in North Queensland

Sun Metals Solar Farm

Sun Metals Solar Farm
Sun Metals Solar Farm (source: sunmetals.com.au)

Construction on the solar farm began in May – it’s expected to be completed early next year, and fully commissioned (providing renewable energy to the refinery) by April. The project will include 1.3 million solar panels and, according to a release by the Queensland Government, will create 210 solar powered jobs.  Queensland energy minister Mark Bailey praised the project, saying “Use of renewable energy in this way not only demonstrates it as a reliable energy source for large-scale industry, but that Korea Zinc is committed to the people of North Queensland, to minimising carbon emissions and protecting the Great Barrier Reef.”

First Solar have been chosen to undertake the project. They have over 500MW in the pipeline for the next 12 months, including the Hayman and Daydream solar farms

About Sun Metals

Sun Metals is a subsidiary of Korea Zinc – they’ve already spent around $1b on the Townsville zinc refinery and, according to the Courier Mail, the 116MW the Sun Metals solar farm provides will account for around 1/3 of their energy needs – so there’s plenty of room to expand. PV Magazine said Sun Metals produce 225,000 tonnes of zinc p.a. and that requires over 900,000 mWh of electricity. 

Sun Metals CEO Yun Choi said in May that “The SMC Solar Farm investment of $199 million is the first step in Korea Zinc ensuring the long term viability of the existing refinery and also underpinning the potential for its expansion using world class new technology, with an investment decision due in late 2017,”

Jack Curtis of First Solar was quoted as saying that “This project represents the viability of the commercial and industrial solar market in Australia and the growing trend of major energy consumers owning and operating renewable energy assets.”

Whilst far from being the first example of renewable energy in resources, it’s great to see these big companies work at reducing their carbon footprint as the benefits (e.g. cost, price fluctuation protection, environmentally friendly nature) of solar becomes more and more attractive. 

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Hayman and Daydream Solar Farm built by First Solar

First Solar have won a module supply contract for Edify Energy‘s Daydream solar farm and Hayman solar farm in Queensland. RCR Tomlinson Ltd (ASX: RCR) was awarded the $315m contract for the farms and have decided to give the supply contract to First Solar, who now have over 500MW in the pipeline over the next 12 months. For their part, RCR have over half a Gigawatt of large-scale solar projects in their order book and over a Gigawatt currently being developed or progressed under early contractor involvement processes, according RCR Managing Director & CEO, Dr Paul Dalgleish talking to RenewEconomy.

Daydream Solar Farm and Hayman Solar Farm

First Solar - Daydream Solar Farm
First Solar – Daydream Solar Farm (source: firstsolar.com)

The Daydream solar farm will be 180.7MW and the Hayman Solar Farm will be 60.2MW – the two projects are located just north of Collinsville in North Queensland – in the Whitsunday region. According to ELP.com, they will use single axis tracking technology which has been commissioned from Array Technologies, and over 2 million advanced thin film PV modules from First Solar, to produce around 531,000 MWh of renewable energy every year.

Edify signed a power purchase agreement with Origin Energy for the Daydream solar farm’s output (they’ll also buy the renewable energy certificates), but the Hayman Solar Farm will operate as a merchant plant.

About First Solar and Edify Energy

First Solar, Inc. are an American based PV manufacturer of rigid film modules, or solar panels, and also a provider of utility-scale PV power plants. In 2009 they were the first solar panel manufacturer to lower their creation cost to $1 (USD) per watt. According to Wikipedia they produced CdTe-panels (cadmium telluride) with an efficiency of ~14% at a cost of 0.59 USD / watt in 2013. They’re the second largest maker of PV modules worldwide.

Edify Energy are an Australian renewable energy development and investment company who have led the financing and delivery of over 30 utility scale solar PV projects at a cost of over $1b. For the Daydream solar farm and Hayman solar farm, they won ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) funding last September under their large-scale solar funding round.

More good news for Queensland solar farms – construction on the projects will commence almost immediately – scheduled for Q3 2017, with module delivery to arrive in Q4 2017 and Q1 2018.

 

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Molong Solar Farm Development Application Tendered By Terrain Solar

Some big news out of  New South Wales today as a proposal for a 100 hectare Molong solar farm has been tabled. Molong is a small town in the Central West region of New South Wales, in Cabonne Shire.

About the proposed Molong Solar Farm

Terrain Solar have lodged a development application to build a 100 hectare solar farm around 3km north-east of Molong – right next to the Transgrid substation. The DA has been lodged with Cabonne Council and will be referred to the Joint Regional Planning Pannel for “assessment and determination”, as advised by Cabonne Mayer Ian Gosper.

Gosper was quoted very positively about these new developments, going on record as saying “If the solar farm is approved, it will be great news for Cabonne and the environment”. Upon construction, the farm will generate 62k MWh / year (enough to power over 10,000 households) and will provide energy to Molong, Orange, and Dubbo.

Molong Solar Farm
Molong Solar Farm (source: Terrain Solar)

According to Terrain, once they receive development application, they hope to commence work on the solar farm by the end of 2017. Simon Ingram and Chris Wilson, the directors of Terrain Solar, said the project represents their “core business mandate, which is to work with landowners to bring renewable energy investment into regional areas.” The construction phase is expected to create 100 temporary jobs and ongoing maintenance of the farm will result in 3-4 permanent positions.

Wilson said the full cost of the farm can’t be revealed yet due to competitive tender.

Manildra Solar Farm

The Molong solar farm would sit alongside a $109m solar farm which is due to start construction at Manildra, 20km west of Molong. The 48.5MW Manildra Solar Farm was approved last September and will be built by First Solar, who have over 17GW of PV power installed worldwide. The Manildra PV farm is slated to reach completion in 2018 and will provide energy to approximately 14,000 homes in the area.

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