Carnegie’s Northam solar farm begins sending energy to the grid in W.A.

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Carnegie Clean Energy’s 10MW Northam solar farm begins limited export of power as part of commissioning of plant, with full commercial operations set to begin in coming weeks.

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Carnegie Clean Energy’s 10MW Northam Solar Farm, which has been built on the outskirts of the Western Australia wheatbelt town of the same name, has begun sending energy to the grid.

In a statement on Wednesday, Carnegie said the completed solar farm had begun limited export of power in conjunction with commissioning of the plant, with full commercial operations set to begin in coming weeks.

The progress at Northam comes as welcome and rare good news from Carnegie, which has hit a rough patch recently that has seen the company’s share price hits a low of less than one cent.

Controversy has surrounded the sale of the recently purchased but loss making renewable micro-grid business Energy Made Clean to the listed Tag Pacific and its merger with that company’s MPower unit.

The company has also been forced to make major write downs of the value of its CETO intellectual property – the wave energy technology that started it all for the Perth-based Carnegie.

And it has had a change of leadership at the top, with long-serving CEO Michael Ottaviano replaced last month by the company’s former chief technology officer, Jonathan Fievez.

Carnegie began developing the Northam solar farm in conjunction with subsidiary Energy Made Clean, in February of this year.

In September, the company revealed that it would sell a further stake in the project to co-owner Indigenous Business Australia for about $2.5 million.

That decision, as Giles Parkinson reported here, appears to have been designed to try to conserve cash, which stood at $8.6 million at the end of last financial year.

The construction debt finance facility for the Northam project was provided by Perth-based private investment group, Asymmetric Credit Partners.

Carnegie has also announced delays to its flagship wave project in Albany, and cited concerns over the future of the federal government’s proposed changes to the R&D Tax Incentive scheme, which has been a major source of revenue for the company.

The proposed 20MW project – which would likely have its beginning as a 1MW pilot – aims to use Carnegie’s CETO 6 technology to tap what the company says is one of the most consistent wave power resources in the world, off the coast of Albany.

But early last month, the W.A. government gave the company nine weeks to clarify the finances for its Albany Wave Project in the light of proposed federal changes.

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