The deal will see First Solar leverage its expertise in utility-scale solar development to deliver the project, which will utilise approximately 466,000 First Solar thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules and single-axis tracking technology. Once constructed, the development will be among the largest solar PV projects in Australia.
Supported by AUD$9.8 million of grant funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in addition to bank financing, the Manildra Solar Farm is one of 12 large-scale solar projects that received ARENA funding following a competitive round in 2016.
A team from Pinsent Masons was led by finance and projects partners Anthony Arrow and Margaret Cole and supported by partners Ewan Robertson, David Rennick, Senior Associates Kate Terry, James Moor, Louisa Wallace and Alexis Coleman, Associate, Tanvir Ahmed and Lawyers, Julian Grant and Stanley Wang.
With the capacity to produce more than 120,000 megawatt-hours of electricity in its first year of operation, the Manildra Solar Farm will help boost NSW’s solar energy production. It will be able to power 14,000 average NSW homes and displace more than 91,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year once complete.
The Manildra Solar Farm will take First Solar's installed capacity in Australia to more than 400MWAC when it is complete in 2018, demonstrating the viability and promising future of the large-scale solar sector in Australia.
First Solar has entered into a 13-year power purchase agreement with EnergyAustralia for the generated electricity and large-scale generation certificates.