RES states that the 68 MW project, located on 160 hectares of farmland to the west of the town of Emerald, will be completed within 12 months. Emerald Solar Park will be connected Queensland’s grid, and is supported by a long term PPA with telecommunications company Telstra, which will purchase all of the energy generated at the park.
Further details of this agreement were not provided; however, this will be the first time a major corporation in Australia has signed a PPA with a PV project owner. According to RES, the deal will “enable Telstra to benefit from long term energy security and assist in mitigating price risk in its position as one of the country’s largest energy users.”
Construction services for the project will be provided by infrastructure engineering firm RCR O’Donnell Griffin. The project will consist of around 250,000 solar panels mounted on single axis trackers, and also includes the construction of an electrical substation.
“We are delighted to announce the project will now move into construction immediately, and are looking forward to a long-term partnership with the experienced team at Lighthouse Infrastructure.” Stated COO at RES Australia Matt Rebbeck. “I’d like to extend particular thanks to Telstra for showing great foresight, insight and market leadership in issuing Australia’s first large-scale offsite renewables corporate PPA.”
Earlier in 2017, Korean owned zinc producer Sun Metals made a similar move into sourcing its own renewable energy, commissioning a 125 MW PV project to power its refinery located outside of Townsville, Queensland. Sun Metals, however, has chosen to own the project itself rather than utilize a PPA contract.