Maoneng and Chint have entered into a partnership with the goal to develop an Australian project pipeline of at least 150 MW by the end of this year and another 350 MW by 2021.
Under a term sheet inked at SNEC 2019, the two companies will establish a joint venture in Australia with Chint taking a 60% stake and Maoneng holding the remainder of shares. The JV will be looking to acquire and co-develop projects with an accumulative value between $60 million and $200 million.
“We look forward to playing a big part in Australia’s transition towards a cleaner and renewable energy future,” said Morris Zhou, CEO of Maoneng, at the signing ceremony.
Maoneng’s biggest Australian project to date and one of the nation’s largest solar projects is the 255 MW Sunraysia Solar Farm in New South Wales. The project is being built by ASX-listed EPC Decmil Group. It is owned and operated by Maoneng and UK-based infrastructure investor John Laing, which invested $108.6 million in the project, taking a 90.1% stake.
The Sunraysia Solar Farm is supported by power purchase agreements with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and AGL Energy, both of which with a 15-year term. The solar supply agreement with UNSW is the first of its kind in Australia – bringing together a retailer (Origin Energy), developer (Maoneng) and corporate (UNSW) with an eye on covering 100% of the University’s electricity demand with solar.
At the groundbreaking ceremony held in February, the developer confirmed the solar farm will be co-located with a large-scale grid connected battery, and stated its plans for an additional 500 MW of solar and energy storage to be added to the Sunraysia project in line with the proposed SA/NSW interconnector. If approved, the interconnector is hoped to be completed by 2022.
“Sunraysia is strategically placed to service multiple states and territories given its proximity to the proposed interconnectors and the main charging route for the Snowy 2.0,” Qiao Nan Han, Vice President Maoneng Group, stated earlier. It is possible the Chint-Maoneng JV will be developing this second stage of the Sunraysia project.
The Sunraysia project is Maoneng’s second significant project in the Australian market, the first being the 13 MW Mugga Lane Solar Park developed and built under the Australian Capital Territory government’s reverse solar auction. The project was built by UGL and commissioned in 2017. The Australian-Chinese developer reports a development pipeline of over 1 GW of solar farms in Australia.
Maoneng’s JV partner says it has developed 68 MW of solar farms in South Australia and worked on a project pipeline of 400 MW. Globally, Shanghai-based Chint boasts a business network spreading over 140 countries and regions with more than 30,000 employees. Earlier this year, the manufacturer announced the closure of Astroenergy, its panel factory in Frankfurt (Oder), which it acquired from German module supplier Conergy in 2014.