Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) has moved on to expand its solar portfolio in Australia with the acquisition of the 90 MW Sebastopol Solar Farm in the Riverina region. Presently under construction, the project was bought from German developer and EPC contractor Ib vogt.
Located approximately 16 km south of the town of Temora and 440 km southwest of Sydney, the solar farm will connect to an existing 132 kV power line and potentially incorporate a battery storage facility at a later stage. Ib vogt launched the EPC works in August after the project was granted planning consent with no objections received.
The Sebastopol Solar Farm’s construction and operation will contribute to the economic development of the area, with FRV projecting the creation of up to 150 jobs during the construction phase of the plant, and 2-3 operational staff for the entire life of the project. Its generation will be enough to supply energy to over 40,000 Australian households.
The plant will join a number of large-scale solar developments in the Riverina region, including the 170 MW Finley Solar Farm, 333 MW Darlington Point Solar Farm , 349 Limondale Solar Farm, 150 MW Coleambally Solar Farm, the 70 MW Wyalong Solar Farm, and 255 MW Sunraysia Solar Farm.
The region has been popular among developers as it offers grid connection via an existing transmission line from Temora to Lake Cowall, and falls within the NSW Government’s South West Renewable Energy Zone. However, due to the sheer number of projects built and proposed for the area, south-western NSW has become one of the most affected regions in terms of grid delays and worsening Marginal Loss Factors (MLFs).
The Sebastopol project output has been contracted under a power purchase agreement signed with Snowy Hydro. This is the second offtake deal FRV has inked with the federal government-owned retailer following the successful bid for the 68.7 MWac Goonumbla Solar Farm as part of the Snowy Hydro Renewable Energy Procurement Program in 2018. That project is currently in the final stages of construction.
“After the successful experience of Goonumbla, we are pleased to continue working with Snowy Hydro on a second project contributing to the ongoing diversification of the electricity generation resources in NSW and Australia,” Carlo Frigerio, FRV Managing Director Australia said.
This project will further expand FRV’s solar footprint in Australia. Thus far, the company has developed and built the 100 MW Lilyvale Solar Farm in Queensland, 20 MWac Royalla project in the Australian Capital Territory, the 56 MWac Moree array in NSW, and the 100 MWac Clare project in Queensland. Other solar farms in its Australian pipeline include the 100 MWac Chaff Mill installation in South Australia, the 115 MW Baralaba project in Queensland, the 67.8 MWac Goonumbla array in New South Wales and the 85 MWac Winton project in Victoria.
“Following the timely development of Goonumbla, which Snowy Hydro supported through an offtake agreement signed in 2018, we are confident of the same success with Sebastopol,” said Snowy Hydro’s CEO, Paul Broad. He went on to add that the company was constantly on the lookout for renewable energy offtake opportunities across the eastern-states.
“Through our peaking generation assets we have the capacity to support and ‘firm’ significant amounts of intermittent wind and solar. Our flexible portfolio of fast-start assets allows us to supply our customers with 24/7 renewable energy, lowering prices and increasing energy security,” Broad said.
For the original project developer, Ib vogt, the Sebastopol Solar Farm is the most advanced project in its Australian PV portfolio. The company first entered the Australian solar market in 2016 when it constructed the 11.1 MWp Williamsdale project in the ACT. Since then, Ib vogt claims to have identified and progressed to the advanced stages of development over 450 MWp of Solar PV projects throughout NSW and Victoria
“The proposed Sebastopol Solar Farm is a world class solar PV project and highlights our expertise in successfully developing solar projects in a challenging solar market,” said Ib vogt chief commercial officer Carsten Stang. “This is our first development project in our attractive Australian portfolio and we look forward to progressing our next projects to a similar stage shortly.”