UK investment firm makes $36 million move into NSW solar market

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Global Sustainable Energy Opportunities (GSEO), the renewables-focused offshoot of international investment giant Victory Hill Capital Group, said it has agreed to acquire three utility-scale solar projects in New South Wales (NSW) as part of its broader $95 million (£50 million) Australian solar PV and battery energy storage investment strategy.

GSEO declined to pinpoint the locations of the three individual 5 MW projects but said they are “fully permitted” and construction of the assets is expected to begin later this year. It is anticipated commercial operations will be achieved in the second quarter of next year.

The output of the three PV plants is expected to be sold on a merchant basis and through power purchase agreements (PPAs).

GSEO said it is also exploring the possibility of co-locating battery energy storage systems with up to two hours of capacity at each site.

“We are very cognisant of the journey which Australians have embarked on to meet the challenges of addressing climate change, whilst ensuring that the country benefits from a reliable energy system in which renewable power generation becomes fully integrated,” co-chief investment officer Richard Lum said in a statement.

GSEO said as part of the transaction, it will retain exclusivity to acquire two more projects of 5 MW each.

The acquisition follows GSEO’s initial entry into the Australian market last year when, in collaboration with Melbourne-based partner Birdwood Energy, it announced the $25 million (£15 million) purchase of two operating solar PV sites, totalling 17 MWdc, in South Australia and Queensland.

GSEO said the installation of a battery energy storage system at one of the original sites has already commenced, saying the co-location of storage capacity forms “a critical part of the investment strategy”.

“The trust is committed towards addressing the intermittency issues nations such as Australia face, in particular the mismatch between when power is generated and when it is actually used,” the company said. “By integrating battery storage power across solar farms, the intermittency issue is remedied and the imperative to turn on coal plants diminishes.”

GSEO said the addition of battery storage capacity at the sites will also allow greater ability to capture positive power price movements, prevent over-exposure to negative power prices, and allow it to benefit from energy arbitrage opportunities and frequency services revenues.

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