X-Elio to build 200 MW Blue Grass project, signs PPA with Salesforce


X-Elio announced on Thursday it has secured its first PPA in Australia, signing a 10-year agreement – which it termed a virtual PPA (VPPA) – with US-based software company Salesforce.

The Blue Grass solar farm, being constructed near the town of Chinchilla on Queensland’s Western Downs, is X-ELIO’s first major project in Australia and its largest to date and is expected to generate 420 GWh annually when complete in late 2021.

“With Australia being a key future strategic market for X-Elio, we are extremely excited to announce this landmark agreement with Salesforce,” X-Elio CEO Lluis Noguera said in a statement.

“X-Elio is continuously looking to grow its presence in attractive markets like Australia, where our local team will leverage the significant capital and global industry expertise of X-Elio to grow our local presence and realise our ambitions in the market.” The company opened its Australian office, in Melbourne, in 2017.

The project is among the latest for X-Elio which currently has 25 solar plants in operation in 13 countries, including the 42 MW Marcovia solar farm in Honduras and the Guanajuato solar farm in Mexico.

The company, co-owned by US investment firms Brookfield and KKR, is also developing the Forest Glen(120MW) and Wunghnu (80MW) solar farms in New South Wales and Victoria respectively.

Belinda Far, X-Elio country manager, Australia.

Photo: X-Elio

Belinda Fan, X-Elio’s country manager in Australia, said “solar is going from strength to strength in Australia.

“This partnership with Salesforce is a significant milestone for X-Elio,” she said. “This VPPA strengthens our position in Australia where we will continue to pursue new growth opportunities to expand our national footprint in the renewables market.”

Fan said the Blue Grass solar farm will deliver more than $200 million capital investment in Queensland and effectively displace 80,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year over the life of the VPPA agreement.

The VPPA, for 25% of the output of the Blue Grass solar farm, is Salesforce’s first renewable energy offtake agreement in Australia and Salesforce Australia and New Zealand CEO Pip Marlow said it supports the company’s ambitions to reach 100% renewable energy by 2022.

“We are proud to team up with X-Elio on the Blue Grass solar farm,” she said.

“Salesforce is on a path to 100% renewable energy and we have a plan to get there by 2022. This is an important step on this path.”

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