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CEFC to provide $150m of funding for three NSW solar projects

Large-scale solar is set to take a leap forward in NSW with $150 million of financing to be provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for three projects.

The three ventures, in Dubbo, Parkes and Griffith, are worth $230 million in total and are all being developed by French renewable energy company Neoen.

They are the first to be announced under the CEFC's $250 million financing program for utility-scale solar which is now vying with wind power to attract new renewables investment thanks to rapidly falling costs and is now expected to capture a chunk of the 2020 renewable energy target.

The projects will see the rapid delivery of 110 megawatts of new solar capacity in NSW, increasing the state's large-scale solar capacity by more than half, said Gloria Chan, head of the CEFC's program for large-scale solar.

"While we have seen increasing investment in renewable energy in Australia, there is still a large investment gap that the CEFC is working to close so we can meet the Renewable Energy Target," Ms Chan said, signalling that more funding project announcements would be made as soon as they are finalised.

"Through this program we have seen a significant reduction in the cost of solar energy to the point where it is very competitive with other forms of electricity generation," Ms Chan said

For Neoen, the debt finance from the CEFC helps the company achieve its goal of owning and operating 1 gigawatt of renewable energy assets in Australia, Australia managing director Franck Woitiez said.

The three projects will all use single-axis tracking technology, which means more of the sun's energy can be captured than if panels were fixed. They involve a 55 MW project 10 km west of Parkes, a 30 MW venture south-east of Griffith and a 25 MW project over two sites near Dubbo.

Bouygues Construction won the contract to build the projects.

Source: Australian Financial Review

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