Fotowatio Wins Approval for US$283 Million Australian Solar Project

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, also known as FRV, has received approval to set up the A$400 million (US$283 million) Lilyvale solar project in the Australian state of Queensland.

The approval was given by the Central Highlands Central Highlands Regional Council on the same day that of the state government’s announcement that it will increase the capacity of its large-scale solar auction to 60MW from 40MW as it seeks to accelerate a transition from the ‘sunshine state’ to the ‘solar state’ to meet it 50% renewable energy target by 2030.

The 400- hectare solar farm is planned for a property near Tieri and will have a capacity of up to 150-megawatts. Tieri is 917 km northwest of Brisbane and northeast of Emerald. Construction of the project is expected to start in 2016 to 2017, and will last for 18 months.

Polycrystalline solar panels and a horizontal, single-axis tracking system will be used at the facility.

Minister for Energy and Water Supply Mark Bailey said that the announcement of a solar only focus will promote further investment into renewable energy developments.

“I am delighted to say that we will be collaborating with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to deliver this exciting initiative,” Bailey said. “By supporting up to 60MW of extra capacity, we’re aiming to drive significant growth in large-scale solar generation in this state.”

“Increasing the uptake of renewable energy in the Sunshine State will not only be good for the environment, but will also create new jobs and diversify the economy. Queensland has some of the best solar resources in the world and is ideally placed to benefit as solar generation becomes an increasingly important part of Australia’s electricity generation mix.”

The Queensland Productivity Commission had also now received the Terms of Reference to commence a public review into a fair price for the cost of solar energy sold back into the electricity grid by homes and small businesses. “We want a fair price for customers regardless of whether a system is installed or is planned to be installed,” Bailey said.

“The review’s findings will further support the take up of solar as we push towards one million rooftops, or 3,000 megawatts of solar PV capacity by 2020. This process will run concurrently with the recent announcement of Ergon Energy’s 150-MW large scale renewable Expression of Interest, and will help drive an unprecedented amount of renewable energy investment into the Queensland market.”

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