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Bellview, home to the Royalla solar farm, is for sale

A 500-hectare grazing farm in Tuggeranong, home to the Royalla solar farm, has hit the market in a rare sale.

Bellview farm, which has been with one owner since the mid-1980s, is expected to sell for upwards of $2.5 million, according to real estate agent Brett Barton of Barton Molloy Property.

The current owner, John Pini, 87, is selling the property to live permanently at his Griffith home.

Mr Barton, who is managing the sale, said Mr Pini worked the property for the past 30 years but the farm is now too big for him.

"John's last sheep will be sheared in the sheds in November, before the property sells," Mr Barton said.

The Royalla solar farm occupies 50-hectares of the property, and has a 30-year lease on the land, payment for which was made in a lump sum to Mr Pini at the time of the lease agreement.

Royalla is one of four solar farms along a stretch of road in Canberra's east colloquially known as the "solar highway".

The farm generates enough power for 4400 homes and has a 20-year feed-in tariff contract with the ACT government.

The sale of the land would not affect this contract, director-general of the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate Ben Ponton said.

"The solar farm will continue to operate under the current feed-in tariff contract terms to generate power," he said.

Owned by Dutch fund management company DIF and managed by Spanish company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), Royalla is the ACT's first solar energy farm, and has been in operation since 2014.

FRV had negotiated with Mr Pini to lease a further 50 hectares of land if it had they been able to attain a further contract with the ACT government. The ACT government appears to have no plans to grant any new solar energy contracts.

Barton said Bellview remains an attractive location to solar and other energy operators due to a connection to the Tharwa sub-station running through the property.

Any energy operation located at Bellview would be able to avoid building their own connection to the sub-station, resulting in potential savings of millions of dollars.

The grazing farm allows for two permanent residences and a capacity for more than 1000 sheep. A 99-year lease was signed on the property in 2003.

The farm, which is 25 minutes from the Canberra CBD and five minutes from the Calwell shopping centre, will go under the hammer on November 25.

Source: Canberra Times


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