Solar farms purchase advances MPower’s own+operate ambitions


The Sydney-based MPower has confirmed it has signed purchase agreements with a total combined consideration of $1.3 million for a solar PV project being developed near Narromine in western New South Wales (NSW), and another being developed near the Victorian town of Mangalore.

“MPower has agreed to purchase two development projects in NSW and Victoria that we will build, own and operate,” MPower CEO Nathan Wise said.

“We’re on the way to our target of 20 projects and are looking forward to ramping up activities as the pipeline continues to build.”

The first of the projects, being developed at Narromine near Dubbo in western New South Wales, is expected to generate more than 14,000 MWh of electricity in its first year.

MPower said the Narromine Renewable Energy Project, developed by Canberra-based ITP Renewables, is expected to be shovel ready within the next three months and revenue generating in early 2023.

The second addition to MPower’s build, own, operate (BOO) portfolio is the Mangalore Renewable Energy Project developed by Tetris Energy approximately 120 kilometres north of Melbourne.

The solar farm, which will connect via a direct feeder into the Ausnet 22 kV system, is expected to produce more than 10,500 MWh of electricity in its first year. It is expected to be shovel ready by the end of 2021 and revenue generating by mid 2023.

It is likely the projects will be coupled with lithium-ion battery storage with MPower announcing earlier this year its intention to augment its portfolio of 5 MW solar farms with 5 MW of DC-coupled battery storage.

“Our build, own, operate solar projects are designed to be battery-ready,” Wise said at the time.

“Project sizing is also being maximised to take into account future battery storage capabilities and benefits.”

MPower said the purchase of the Narromine and Mangalore solar farms will be finalised when each project is fully permitted and has achieved shovel-ready status.

The two purchase agreements are the first for MPower which has ambitions to establish a portfolio of up to 20 renewable energy assets with an aggregate capacity of 100 MW and an estimated end value of more than $150 million.

MPower has a history of designing, constructing, commissioning and maintaining solar farms but Wise said the company is increasingly looking at developing its BOO portfolio, having already secured exclusivity over 10 solar farm development sites across Victoria, South Australia and NSW.

“As the total number of sites secured continues to scale, the company’s focus continues to shift further towards build, own, operate activities,” he said.

“Deploying more of the company’s resources to these initiatives is expected to deliver superior returns and unlock considerable value for shareholders in the longer term. This is the focus for our team now.”

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