FRV signs JV to develop 500 MW of solar across Tasman


New Zealand (NZ) gen-tailer Genesis Energy announced on Thursday it had formed a joint venture with the Australian arm of Saudi-owned renewable energy developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) to deliver a series of large-scale solar farms that will generate an estimated 750 GWh of renewable energy annually.

FRV has emerged as one of Australia’s largest solar developers since its arrival in 2010. The company’s Australian portfolio includes almost 700 MW of utility scale solar PV projects already operational or under construction.

FRV’s Australian portfolio includes the 125 MW Lilyvale Solar Farm in Queensland, the 106 MW Winton Solar Farm in Victoria, and the  69.75 MW Goonumbla Solar Farm in New South Wales (NSW). The company has also achieved financial close on the 115 MW Metz Solar Farm, commenced construction on the 90 MW Sebastopol Solar Farm, and continues to develop the 300 MW Walla Walla Solar Farm, all in NSW.

FRV Australia managing director Carlo Frigerio said the company would now look to build on that regional experience in NZ.

“We intend to replicate our successful Australian experience in the New Zealand solar energy market,” he said.

Genesis, which is 51% owned by the NZ government, said most of the solar developments will be located on NZ’s North Island with site selections to be driven by existing transmission connection points. The site of the first solar farm is set to be confirmed early next year.

Genesis’ chief operations officer Nigel Clark said FRV’s experience in developing large-scale solar projects, particularly in emerging markets, and access to global supply chain networks had proved decisive in a competitive selection process.

“The joint venture will maximise the capabilities of both parties, enabling us to achieve our ambition to become a leading developer of solar generation in New Zealand,” he said.

Genesis will retain a 60% stake in the joint venture, bolstering its ambition to establish itself as a leading developer of utility scale solar and adding to its existing generation portfolio of hydro, wind, geothermal and thermal sources of energy.

Clark said the solar project would contribute to Genesis’ Future-gen program which aims to displace 2,650 GWh of baseload thermal generation with new renewable power by 2030.

Genesis Energy plans to add solar energy to its existing generation stream.

Image: Tilt Renewables

It comes after Genesis opened the 133 MW Waipipi wind farm in Taranaki earlier this year, signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to enable the building of the 75 MW Kaiwaikawe wind farm in Northland over the next three years, and another PPA for power from the Tauhara geothermal plant being built near Taupō.

“Combined, these four projects will create 1,935 GWh per year of renewable generation, putting us well on the way toward our goal of displacing 2,650 GWh of thermal power,” Clark said.

“We are moving at pace to underline our commitment to transition to renewable sources of generation.”

The announcement of the joint venture comes after FRV, owned by UAE based Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, last month confirmed the sale of a 49% share in its Australian arm to Canadian fund Omers Infrastructure.

Under the terms of the transaction, Omers acquired a stake in FRV’s Australian renewable energy business, which includes 637 MW (DC) of PV projects already operational or under construction with offtakers and green certification already in place, as well as a pipeline comprising 2.7 GW of PV projects and 1.3 GWh of battery storage in earlier phases of development.

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