Amazon announces two new solar farms now online in NSW

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Online retail giant Amazon announced on Wednesday that the 150MWac Suntop and the 110MWac Gunnedah solar farms developed in regional New South Wales (NSW) by Chinese PV heavyweight Canadian Solar are now up and running and delivering clean energy to the grid.

The Suntop Solar Farm, near Wellington in central northern NSW, and the Gunnedah Solar Farm, west of Tamworth in the state’s north-west, are expected to generate a combined 392,000MWh of renewable energy each year, equal to the annual electricity consumption of 63,000 Australian homes.

Canadian Solar said both solar farms are underwritten by long-term offtake agreements with Amazon, one of the largest multinational technology companies in the world.

Amazon announced in 2020 it had signed a deal to purchase a combined 262MW in clean energy capacity across three utility-scale renewable projects in Australia.

The United States-headquartered multinational signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy 105MW of output from the Suntop project. That came just months after Amazon signed a contract with Canadian Solar to buy 60MW of output from the Gunnedah facility.

Amazon also has a PPA in place to purchase renewable energy from the 96.6MW Hawkesdale Wind Farm being built by Global Power Generation in Victoria’s Western District.

Amazon also plans to install rooftop solar at its Australian facilities.

Image: Amazon

The three projects are expected to generate a combined 717,000MWh of renewable energy annually for Amazon with the solar farms to contribute more than half of the amount.

Amazon, which only last month announced 37 new renewable energy projects around the world, including new rooftop solar installations at its buildings in Australia, said the launch of the two solar farms would help the company meet its renewable energy goals.

“Amazon’s commitment to protecting the planet, to operate our business in the most efficient way possible, and to limit our impact on the environment, has led us to be the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world in both 2020 and 2021,” the company said in a statement.

“This extends to all locations where we operate, and we are pleased to announce that our first Australian utility-scale renewable energy projects are now delivering clean energy to the Australian grid.

“The two solar farms in regional NSW are two of the 310 renewable energy projects across 19 countries helping Amazon stay on our path to powering our operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of our original goal of 2030.”

Once operational, Amazon expects the 310 projects will produce 42,000GWh of renewable energy annually.

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