FRV to develop 115 MW Metz Solar Farm


FRV announced on Friday it had purchased the Metz Solar Farm from Chinese-Australian BoS provider and project developer Clenergy. The move boosts FRV’s Australian operating and in-construction solar projects to eight, including four in New South Wales.

Carlo Frigerio, managing director of FRV in Australia, said the acquisition was “another high-quality project” which adds to the company’s expansion in Australia.

“Metz Solar Farm will help us to consolidate our portfolio in NSW and help the government to achieve their ambitious target of 12 GW of renewables and storage under the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap that they have launched recently,” he said.

To be built on a 2,946 hectare site near Armidale, the Metz Solar Farm will have a generation capacity of 115 MW (143.5 MWdc) and is expected to implement single-axis tracking, SMA inverter stations and Tier-1 solar modules to generate enough energy to supply up to 40,000 homes. In addition, it’s estimated the annual greenhouse gas emissions reduced by the solar farm will be approximately 225,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Construction on the project was originally slated for 2018 but it has faced numerous delays amid broad industry concerns about securely integrating new solar and wind projects into the grid.

Frigerio has previously said that delays due to grid connection issues, transmission constraints and construction costs “were typical issues that solar developers are generally facing in the market, but this is not impacting or expected to impact our committed projects”.

The Metz Solar Farm has already secured approval for its grid connection from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and a substation has been completed by Transgrid. The project is also underpinned by a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Snowy Hydro, signed in 2018 as part of the Snowy Hydro Renewable Energy Procurement Program.

FRV, part of Saudi Arabia operation Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, said it will now take the project on to financial close with construction expected to commence in the coming months.

The Metz Solar Farm delivers the third PPA with Snowy Hydro for FRV, adding to deals inked for the 90 MW Sebastopol and the 69.75 MW Goonumbla solar farms.

The Sebastopol project in the south-west of the state is currently under construction while the Goonumbla Solar Farm, near Parkes, was completed in August and is now connected to the national grid. The 56 MW Moree Solar Farm rounds out FRV’s NSW portfolio of large-scale PV projects.

FRV’s website said the company also operates the 125 MW Clare Solar Farm in Queensland and the 100 MW Lilyvale Solar Farm in Queensland which in under construction. Also in the company’s portfolio is the 85 MWWinton Solar Farm in Victoria and the 125 MW Chaff Mill Solar Farm in South Australia.

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