Construction of three new solar projects in Victoria’s north-west totalling $500million and generating more than 200 jobs has been announced as part of the creation of the largest solar farms ever to be built in the state.
Renewable energy developers Overland Sun Farming and Island Green Power have teamed up to make the announcement, that will see solar farms in Yatpool, Iraak and Wemen in Victoria’s Mildura and Swan Hill districts.
Wemen is a community of about 280 people, situated 131km north-west of Swan Hill on the banks of the Murray River.
Island Green Power managing director Ian Lawrie said the economic conditions were right for solar.
‘‘As the input prices fall and future energy and Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) prices continue to remain high, the conditions are in place for investment,’’ Mr Lawrie said.
‘‘The Overland/IGP team has the experience in delivering utility-scale renewable energy projects from start to finish, which will finally realise Victoria’s potential.
‘‘The local governments in Mildura and Swan Hill have been extremely supportive of these projects, which will represent a $50 million investment in the region, and generate more than 200 jobs during construction.’’
Beon Energy Solutions, a branch of Powercor and CitiPower, is working with the project to deliver various non-regulated electrical connections and is supportive of the announcement.
‘‘The north-west of Victoria has an enviable solar resource and the progress and competitiveness of large-scale solar projects in the last 12 months has been tremendous, with many projects now moving close to financial close,’’ Beon’s general manager Glen Thomson said.
‘‘In addition, advances in technology and changing market dynamics mean large-scale renewables are increasingly commercially attractive, making it an exciting time for our industry,’’ he said.
Overland’s managing director Brett Thomas said using solar energy was good for Australia.
‘‘Solar is Australia’s next great energy opportunity,’’ Mr Thomas said.
‘‘We could see that Victoria’s north-west region was a fantastic opportunity for solar farming — it has the best solar radiation in the state and there is plenty of clear flat land.
‘‘Construction is set to get under way later this year.’’